Kochi: In a joint experiment, scientist and engineers from SCMS Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology Research and Development and SCMS School of Engineering have successfully transformed coconut oil into an effective biofuel which can be used to drive vehicles.
The group of scientists in their experiment on a four stroke diesel engine of TATA ACE mini truck has found that the biofuel gives a mileage of 22.5 kilometer per liter(kmpl) whereas it provided 16 kmpl when it ran on diesel
Scientists who have been running the four-stroke diesel engine of a light pick-up truck on coconut oil for the past one year have approached the union government to commercialize the biofuel.
“We purchased this brand new vehicle a year back. By now, it has done 20,000 km and has proved beyond doubt that coconut oil can replace diesel,” said C. Mohankumar, who heads the team of six scientists.
He further said that they have already applied for US patent and have also approached the Central government for making commercial use of this biofuel a reality. The emission of harmful gases from this biofuel is much lower compared to diesel. Explaining the process, Mohankumar said760 litres of biofuel can be produced from the oil of 10,000 coconuts.
"There are also five other by-products. This includes 5,000 kg of husk, 2,500 kg of coconut shells, 1,250 litres of coconut water, around 1,200 kg of cake (that can be used as cattle feed) and 70 litres of glycerol,” said Kumar. "Each of these products has a market value and that's how we are able to commercially supply this biodfuel at Rs.40 a litre," added Kumar.
"We have conducted numerous tests on this coconut biofuel that are for anyone to see. It shows that all the parameters are much lower than other biodiesel products," he further added. The study was published in the December 2014 issue of the journal 'Fuel'.