The aim of the Biodiesel for Social Inclusion project is to supply waste oil in the coast of Santa Catarina to meet the demand of artisanal fisherfolk for biodiesel through the local workers who need to increase their income and are responsible for selective waste collection. 

As a result, the biodiesel supplies the vessels of artisanal fisheries and is used as fuel for the waste collection vehicles, thus contributed to the continuity of regional fishing, the health of fisherfolk and environmental conservation.


A - General Information 


START: June 2008 (in progress)

EXECUTING ENTITY: University of the South of Santa Catarina - UNISUL

CO-EXECUTING ENTITY: Pró-CREP Association (Create, Recycle, Educate and Preserve)

PARTNERSHIPS: Santander Bank, Solidary University - UNISOL, Municipal College of Palhoça - FMP


RESOURCES: Own and third-party resources

COST RANGE: Over USD 25 thousand

CATEGORY: Projects

MAIN THEMATIC AREA: Socio-productive inclusion

KEY WORDS: Biodiesel, Residual Frying Oil, Artisanal Fishing, Recycling

TARGET PUBLIC: Artisanal fisherfolk and members of the local community that participate in selective waste collection

LOCATION: Peri-urban areas


SPECIFIC IMPLEMENTATION AREA: Municipality of Palhoça, Santa Catarina - Baixada do Maciambu Region 


B - Practice Description



The Pró-CREP association collects and selects solid waste in Pinheira beach, in the Baixada do Maciambu, Municpality of Palhoça/SC, with a huge potential of inclusion, especially from the most vulnerable communities and people who are concerned with social and environmental issues.

The Pinheira beach and surrounding areas has around 30 restaurants, snack bars and bars that serve as potential suppliers of frying oil, ranging from 4000 to 7000 litres/month of oil in the summer and approximately 3000 litres/month in the other seasons. Until 2008, there was no adequate destination for this waste, which was discarded as each establishment thought best.

Artisanal fishing in the Pinheira beach is quite extensive. As one of the oldest activities in Brazil, it is also one of the main financial activities of the region and the main source of income for many families. Fossil diesel used by the artisanal fishing vessels is the most significant cost incurred by the fisherfolk and is usually of poor quality. During combustion, it generates a large amount of particles composed of sulphur and other gases that are hazardous to the environment. Biodiesel, on the other hand, is a biodegradable product made of renewable sources. In complete combustion it generates a reduced number of particles and does not include sulphur in its composition.

Based on the need of the local community to find an adequate destination for frying oil, the university was contacted to conciliate the financial, environmental and social dimensions within the perspective of sustainable development, with the needs of the artisanal fisherfolk and the work of the Pró-CREP Association in the transformation of oil into biodiesel. 



To stimulate sustainable development in the community of Pinheira beach through the production and use of biodiesel.

Specific objectives:

1. Include professors and students of the Unisul and the Pinheira beach community in the biodiesel production process to ensure continuity of the project created from the partnership with Unisul/CNPq/Pró-CREP;

2. Hold lectures for primary and secondary school students on the environment, pollution vs. human activities, the greenhouse effect, and the preservation of water sources and of the local culture;

3. Stimulate the participation of the local population in the process of separating solid recyclable waste and frying oil;

4. Promote a community debate to trigger awareness on social and environmental issues.

5. Encourage partnerships with restaurants and bars for the provision of frying oil;

6. Build skills and competencies for the safe and efficient production of biodiesel and monitor the quality of the produced biodiesel.

7. Improve the productive process, such as the creation of a distillery to recover methanol and a solar-powered water heating system for purifying (washing) biodiesel.

8. Create a soap/detergent manufacturing process with the women of the association, from the glycerol (by-product of biodiesel) and unused oil/fat for the production of biodiesel at the factory. 



The biodiesel process started with the awareness of members of the community and owners of restaurants in the Pinheira beach region on the importance of selectively separating waste in a social, environmental and financial context.

The second step refers to the effective and routine collection of this material on certain days of the week. Transforming waste into a marketable product involves the process of transforming oil into biodiesel, of assessing the quality of the produced biodiesel, and of taking full advantage of the oily residue that cannot be used for biodiesel production to make soap.

The project focus also includes the adequate treatment of the generated liquid effluents using a root zone waste water treatment system. All the hot water used to wash the biodiesel is heated using solar panels. Indirectly, this project also benefits other activities at the screening plant.

Another highlight is the equipment used in the plant to transform oil into biodiesel and soap. It was all designed using scrap stainless steel so as to not introduce new materials into the process.

Initially, the produced biodiesel was used by three families of the fishing community (test phase) with the participation of a mechanic to accompany motor performance.

Today, the biodiesel is sold at a lower cost than the fossil diesel and used for the artisanal fishing vessels, where the fisherman adds 50% of the biodiesel in the fuel composition, and to supply the selective collection vehicles of the Pró-CREP Association.

Project implementation included promotional and environmental education lectures at schools and visits to bars and restaurants. The sector entrepreneurs were invited to see the oil-biodiesel transformation process.

A certificate for restaurants that participate in the project was created to help restaurant owners divulge their socio-environmental and community concerns to customers.

Currently, the micro biodiesel plant also serves as an learning environment for students of the Unisul, the FMP, and local schools.



  • 1754 residents were involved in the environmental education practices: 1200 primary school students, 400 secondary school students, 60 professors, 80 community leaders and 14 community agents;
  • 110 people are directly benefitted, including association members, fisherfolk and their families;
  • An increase of 63% in the number of Pró-CREP members, totalling 40 workers;
  • Monthly income of members from BRL 800 to BRL 1000 - an increase of approximately 100%, considering they previously received less than BRL 400 a month;
  • A 76% increase in the volume of collected oil - 3000 litres per month; in 2013, the average volume was 1700 litres a month;
  • A cost reduction of the fuel used in the artisanal fishing vessels – in 2014, the litre of biodiesel cost BRL 1.50,  while the litre of diesel in the region in that same year cost around BRL 2.89;
  • 1.500 litres of biodiesel distributed at no charge for the fisherfolk to test the product;
  • A team of 50 individuals, including 39 undergraduate students, a doctoral degree student, an environmental engineers and 9 students of the Maturity Programme.
  • Four-cylinder MWM Sprint motor (maritime) evaluated for torque and power using different proportions of biodiesel (B20 to B100). The final recommendation was to use biodiesel with diesel at a ratio of 50:50 to 70:30 (B50 to B70) in the vessels;
  • A total volume of 9600 litres of biodiesel and 15,000 litres of pre-purified oil was produced in 2014;
  • A production capacity of 2000 bars of 200g-soap a month;
  • An average annual production of 6000 litres of transesterified organic product for manufacturing release agents.



Team: a project coordinator (biochemical pharmacist and doctor of chemistry), four engineering professors, an environmental education professor, a mechanical technician (maritime motor), twenty scholars of different fields (environmental and sanitary engineering, civil engineering, production and electrical engineering, and social services and education).

Vehicle: oil was initially collected using a tractor, and the current vehicle is a Ducato that was acquired with funding from other projects and provided by the association in partnership with the Biodiesel project.

Infrastructure: A necessary area of approximately 80 m² for biodiesel production (capacity for 5000 litres/month);

Area of approximately 50 m² for soap production. The areas must have water and electricity installed.

Equipment and materials: Settling tanks (3 1000 L PVC water tanks, 2 500 L PVC water tanks); 100 50 L plastic oil drums; 1000 L container for storing biodiesel; 1 25 L stainless steel reactor with heating and agitation to prepare the catalytic mixture; 1 60 L stainless steel reactor-heater (for oil); 1 80 L stainless steel reactor with agitation (transesterification - biodiesel reaction); 2 150 L stainless steel or aluminium settling tanks (for separating the biodiesel from the glycerine); 1 200 L stainless steel biodiesel washer with agitation motor, 1 200 L dessicator with agitation; 1 filter for filtering biodiesel. 3 auto-Asp. motor pumps; piping, 4 ¼ 220v motors; manual trolley for transporting the drums; PPE (gloves, masks, goggles, apron); 1 computer with a printer.

The necessary equipment for soap production is 1 500 L water tank for storing oil/fat; 1 50 L stainless steel soap crusher with manual agitation; 02 cooling tanks (25 kg); 01 cutter with string, 01 cutter with handle; and shelves for curing soap.

Raw material: used frying oil; methanol and potassium hydroxide (for 1000 L of oil – 200 L of methanol and 7.50 kg of KOH); anhydrous sodium sulphate (25% of the weight of biodiesel) for drying the biodiesel;

The raw material required for soap production (200 bars of 200g) is used frying oil (25 L); 8 L of lixivia (4kg of caustic soda and water); crude glycerine without methanol (2.4 L) and disinfectant (2.6); PPE (gloves, mask, goggles, apron); and labels and packaging (with milk cartons).

Environmental Education: Teaching resources, projector and computer. 




The Barra do Aririú community, in the Municipality of Palhoça, that has similar characteristics to those of the Pinheira beach community, expressed interest in the project. As the project is in the same municipality, however, this could cause competition for frying oil and may negatively affect the current project.

The team therefore decided on the condition that the project be implemented in another municipality so there could be enough oil for everyone.

However, the project can also be implemented in the interior of the state with the use of trucks and buses from the town council and the involvement of associations for the production of biodiesel.



To earn the trust of the fisherfolk in relation to the quality of the biodiesel, a project was created with Senai/São José/Palhoça to show that the maritime motors of the artisanal fisherfolk can use a mixture of biodiesel of up to 70% in the fossil diesel (B70) without damaging or altering engine power or fuel consumption.

New alternatives had to be created to maintain the price of biodiesel under the market value for the fisherfolk and ensure the financial feasibility of the project. Therefore, the saturated frying oil could now also be used to produce soap, a transesterified organic product, and pre-purified frying oil, both of which have a higher added value and provide greater financial returns to Pró-Crep.

Visits must be previously scheduled, preferably in the morning, and there are no restrictions in terms of season or number of visitors.



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