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Small Islands Voice Global Forum

Getting started with coconut oil

The ongoing discussion on using coconut oil as an alternative to diesel has motivated many readers of this Small Islands Voice Global Forum to write in with ideas and questions. The moderators of this forum are not experts in renewable energy, however, we have compiled the information about coconut oil and biofuels that has been sent to us by some of our more knowledgeable readers. To read this additional information, click here http://www.unesco.org/csi/smis/siv/Forum/keyissues15b.htm

Meanwhile the discussion continues. Dulph Mitchell, from San Andres Island (Caribbean) writes: My questions are: a) How is the coconut oil processed to be used as fuel; b) Is the processing difficult or costly; c) If it is worthwhile, is it not possible or wise for several small islands to form a cooperative enterprise to produce this type of fuel so that all partners might receive a profit?

From Philma Innocent, St. Lucia (Caribbean): I am aware of the decline in the banana industry in my particular country. I welcome this new venture where coconut oil is concerned. I would suggest then that this idea be tried in every Caribbean island where coconuts are among the most common trees.

From Sitiveni in Fiji (Pacific): We are an ecotourism company in Fiji with 5 vehicles and we would seriously consider using coconut oil for our motors. Is there a contact for this technology in Fiji?

Ian Mohammed from Trinidad and Tobago (Caribbean) writes: I just attended a Health and Safety Conference where a paper was presented on biodiesel. I am sure there will be more research and development in this field because of the Kyoto Accord and the high cost of oil and gas. For smaller less developed countries this biofuel seems to be the best alternative. The President of Venezuela recently announced that he will be using all idle sugar cane fields in Venezuela to make ethanol. My country, Trinidad and Tobago, has just closed down the Sugar Manufacturing Plant. I believe that with further research and development the price of biodiesel could be quite competitive and serve as an alternative to rising prices.

I am surprised to read that 75% of the weight of copra is extractable oil, writes Jim Currie from the Federated States of Micronesia (Pacific). I am also of the opinion that possibly the best opportunity for coconut oil for now is in the outer islands of some of our countries where coconut is still a managed crop and the cost of transporting diesel is prohibitive. To my knowledge, it takes very little conversion to run a diesel generator on coconut oil and thereby provide all the necessary power for the schools, clinics, communication and homes.

Finally, Patu Hohepa, New Zealand (Pacific) asks whether temperate countries could begin to grow coconut trees. Given global warming, perhaps it is now time for countries in temperate
areas (New Zealand where I live is one) to find the types of coconut trees that can transplant successfully. We have now successfully begun olive tree plantations - is there any information that olive oil is also suitable for replacing diesel fuel?

And on a parting note, Tony Marjoram, France, adds: Apart from technical and economic considerations, one other point is that following vehicles using coconut oil is quite a pleasure due to the beautiful smell, rather than the unpleasant hassle of following smelly, smoky trucks.

Messages In This Thread

Alternatives to rising oil prices
T. Deamer, K. Etuati -- Wednesday, 24 August 2005
Using coconut oil as an engine fuel
R. Early and M. Font -- Tuesday, 6 September 2005
Pacific islands showing the way with coconut oil
A. DeTerville, U. Hertel, G. Johnson, H. Probert, D. Williams -- Tuesday, 20 September 2005
Getting started with coconut oil
J. Currie, P. Hohepa, P. Innocent, T. Marjoram, D. Mitchell, I. Mohammed, Sitiveni -- Tuesday, 4 October 2005
Energy sources in our own backyard
L. Fox, L. Hamlet, Sabra, Sahayam, J. Seeto, M. Voi -- Tuesday, 18 October 2005
Using our sugar and coconut plantations wisely
T. Deamer and Newspaper article -- Thursday, 3 November 2005
From frying oil to car fuel
websites -- Monday, 2 October 2006
A cautionary note: undertake research first
H. Chang, J. Cloin, L. Farnel, T. Goreau -- Thursday, 19 October 2006
Can tidal currents supply future energy needs?
Father Api, H. Baral, T. Goreau, P. Jacobs -- Thursday, 2 November 2006

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