Project Background

South Sudan is the youngest nation in the world. After decades of civil war, South Sudan separated from Sudan and formed its own independent nation. The people there are among the poorest in the world, living on less than $1 per day on average. However, South Sudan is one of the most fertile nations in Africa, and their primary cash crop is sesame seeds. The seeds themselves are used in foods around the world. However, the real value in growing sesame seeds is the oil that can be extracted from them. Sesame oil is one of the most stable of all seed oils, which makes it very desirable for cooking around the world. Currently, in South Sudan, very small quantities of sesame oil are extracted through inefficient manual processes. As a result, South Sudan exports the majority of their sesame seeds to countries in Asia who extract the oil efficiently and inexpensively and then sell it back to South Sudan at inflated rates. Our goal is to design an efficient, sustainable, and affordable system for extracting sesame oil in South Sudan. This will generate more income for farmers by allowing them to easily produce large quantities of sesame oil for sale internationally. For our project, we are focusing on creating a small processing system for use outside the city of Malakal in the Upper Nile Region of South Sudan.

South Sudan is a nation full of different tribal groups which were engaged in civil war for so long before separating from Sudan. The two largest tribal groups are the Dinka and the Nuer, which make up 35.8% and 15.6% of the population respectively. Both of these tribes are heavily represented in Malakal, and it is our hope that our sesame oil extractor will be shared amongst farmers from different tribal groups to promote unity and peace between them.

Our Task

Problem Statement:

Due to lack of infrastructure and split from Sudan, South Sudan is unable to capitalize on their abundant natural resources. Sesame seed oil production continues to be limited due to inefficient manual oil extraction processes.

Our solution is to design a mechanical process to extract oil from sesame seeds in an efficient, sustainable, and affordable way. Our customer is James Tor Monybuny, the Governor of the Upper Nile Region of South Sudan. We will design our system for use on a plot of land outside the city of Malakal.


Jeff Kibbie

Jeff Kibbie is a seasoned entrepreneur and patented technologist, passionate about helping entrepreneurs and small businesses discover and develop winning strategies to successfully navigate complex business challenges.
Jeff has successfully navigated competitive shark-tank environments to cast strategic visions for companies in the high-tech and low-tech space, bringing new products to market and solving difficult problems, reeling in enormous profits for the companies he owns and consults.
As a patented developer, Jeff has lectured for engineering and venture capital groups throughout New England on topics related to protecting your invention and the patent process as well as emerging technologies such as Internet 2.0, the Internet of Things (IoT), and how they converge on facility electrical power distribution systems and equipment controls technology.

Monyroor Teng

Monyroor is the pastor of the Sudanese Covenant Evangelical Church in Manchester, NH. He has been a close personal friend of Jeff Kibbie for many years. Monyroor’s brother-in-law is our project customer, Governor James Tor Monybuny.


Ben Hekman 

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Ben Hekman is an industrial consultant for the Fröolja Project. Ben is a senior engineer who has a wide breadth of experience including bringing large automated systems to life as a controls engineer, bringing consumer products to market, and commercializing industrial material handling equipment. Ben fills the gap in project teams by playing roles of electrical controls engineer, mechanical engineer, and project manager, sometimes wearing many hats in a single project. Ben has yielded significant business value for his employer, Dematic Corp., and has a passion for making things exceptional. Ben believes that adequate is not good enough. He holds a PE license in the state of Michigan, a PMP from the Project Management Institute, and CSM from the Scrum Alliance. Ben is also a Calvin College alum.


Wesley Richards

Wesley Richards graduated from Calvin College in 2015 with a degree in Mechanical
Engineering. After graduating, he went to work at Lacks Enterprises, Inc., located in Grand Rapids, as a
manufacturing engineer for one of their injection molding plants. In 2016, Wes assumed the role of
Plant Process Manager and is currently in charge of the technical staff across all three shifts of the
molding facility. Wes currently volunteers as a small group leader at Ada Bible Church. He also volunteers as a senior design team consultant and serves on the Calvin Engineering Academic Council. Wesley is a great resource for the team in terms of project planning and management.


Jacob Atem

Dr.Jacob Atem is the co-founder and CEO of the Southern Sudan Health Care Organization, a non-profit that provides medical facilities, supplies and healthcare-education to the people of South Sudan. At the age of six, Jacob traveled over 2,000 miles to escape a brutal civil war in South Sudan that claimed his family. For nearly a decade, he lived in an overcrowded Kenyan refugee camp where hunger and disease were daily struggles. Now recognized as a Lost Boy of Sudan, Dr. Atem obtained his Ph.D from the University of Florida. Dr. Atem has dedicated his life to healthcare education and medical service. Adhering to SSHCO’s mission, which focuses on natives helping natives, Dr. Atem advocates for displaced persons around the world. Under his leadership, SSHCO aims to inspire hope and improve the quality of life for the lost. If you would like to request Dr. Atem to personally share his journey, please fill out the speaker request form:


January Update

All four members of the team are on campus for Calvin College’s January Interim Term. The team has begun designing the oil expeller system, which will consist of a purchased central shaft and housing as well as self-designed and built hopper, chain-driven drivetrain, oil collection bin, and waste collection trough. The total cost of the …

End of Semester Progress

This fall, Team 18 has been conducting research and performing mechanical and financial analysis in order to determine the feasibility of the project. Team 18 is proposing the design and construction of a screw expeller to extract sesame oil on a 40-hectare cooperative farm in Malakal, South Sudan. Research has covered every aspect of the …