Money doesn't grow on trees. Or does it?
Coconut oil as substitute for diesel?
Saturday October 8 2005 00:00
WELLINGTON: Coconut oil can be used as a substitute for diesel fuel, two engineering students in New Zealand claimed on Friday.
Dominic Schwalger of Samoa and Penaia Rogoiumari of Fiji demonstrated their research and showed a diesel engine running on pure coconut oil at Auckland University's faculty of engineering, where they are finishing mechanical degrees.
They said that coconut oil was already being used in a blend with diesel, but their research showed it could be a substitute and produced by a simple process, unlike some bio-fuels that require complex equipment and chemical reactions."What we have shown is that without any modification to either the pure oil or the engine you can use it as an alternative fuel," Schwalger said.
He said the white flesh of the coconut was dried out, then pressed to release the oil, which is already commonly used as cooking oil and in tanning lotions.
Rogoiumari, who lectures at Fiji's Institute of Technology, said that use of coconut fuel in Pacific island countries could become widespread."The combination of a ready supply of coconuts, rising fuel prices and ease of manufacture makes this a real option for villagers who need to run equipment like generators or boat engines," he said.
I know. . . I have a low "interesting" threshold huh? haha. Anyways - why is this interesting? Well, this is me talking with dollar signs in my eyes and probably rose coloured glasses on, but it screams opportunity for the Pacific Islands. Given the escalating fuel prices and the crisis with deplenshing fuel resources in the world, if Coconut oil is a real alternative - if developed right and harnessed effectively - imagine the cost savings and potential REVENUE Samoa and the Pacific could make!
I mentioned that it's with rose coloured glasses that I say that because to spot potential and to realise potential are two separate things, especially when we're talking about innovation or changing the way things are done in a place that is so staunch in it's traditions and mentality, like my paradise home.
I wonder what it would take to make it happen.
*thinks for a second*
- Research & Development - can't do nothing if you don't have a good product to start with.
- Qualified innovative people - that work like palagis. People commited to seeing the project through.
- Community and local involvement - to create a sense of local "ownership"
- A project champion - someone local to create a shared vision.
- Funding - it makes the world go round. Gotta spend to make.
- A private sector initiative with government support - need an environment conducive to innovation, creativity and growth.
It's funny they always say money doesn't grow on trees, but hey, maybe it does. On Coconut trees.
Well, aren't I just FULL of bright ideas huh? haha. Well, my completely pointless exercise of the morning is now done, I must now leave the procrastination station and idealistic mindframe and get back to the dry reality that is work on a Friday morning.