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Energy Consumption In Coconut Processing: 2 Case Studies

This paper draws attention to the importance of coconut as a fuel source - including the husk, coir fibre pith, fronds, timber from senescent palms and coconut oil. Two case studies are presented : (1) the conversion of coconut shell to charcoal and the use of waste heat generated during the process; and (2) the use of coconut oil/diesel blends as fuel in a diesel engine. The technical and economic aspects of both these processes are discussed and the conditions necessary for successful application are identified. The work concluded that the waste heat recovery technology produces a better quality of both copra and charcoal than traditional systems. Provided that there is a modest premium for copra manufactured via the waste heat recovery technology, the financial returns are likely to be at least as attractive as traditional copra production despite the higher initial investment costs. The economics of using coconut oil as a diesel substitute are less promising. A large drop in coconut oil price relative to diesel would be necessary before this option would be attractive financially. The use of diesel/coconut oil blends is technically viable and in land-locked or island economies may have strategic importance. The advantage of totally integrated coconut processing systems to maximise energy efficiency and to achieve positive economic and environmental benefit is highlighted.

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