Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Koro Village Nuts Over Bio-fuel

www.fijitimes.com - Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The use of diesel fuel will be a thing of the past for the people of Koro Island because they will now rely on coconut oil as its suitable replacement.

This means that all vehicles, generators, outboard motors and other machinery on the island will depend solely on bio-diesel extracted from coconut oil, which will be produced locally at Nacamaki Village.

The initiative is part of the efforts to introduce renewable energy for rural people who find it hard to cope with the rising price of diesel fuel.

As part of a long-term plan government has brought 15 villagers from Nacamaki to Suva to train them how to use the Modular Bio-Diesel Processing Plant which will be installed in the village early next year.

The $30,000 plant will be able to process other bi-products such as edible oil, soap, and fertiliser.

Department of Energy spokesman Vilimoni Vosarogo said the new processing plant would be the first of its kind to be introduced in Fiji and the Pacific. He said government has planned to install similar processing plants in Lau, Kadavu, Rotuma and other parts of Fiji.

Mr Vosarogo said villagers of Koro would have to build their own shed to accommodate the new plant while government would provide them training.

He said the new initiative would help ordinary villagers financially.

Nacamaki villager Leone Manu said the new project would create employment for the villagers. He said carting diesel fuel to the island was an expensive exercise.

He said villagers had given up selling dried coconuts to Savusavu and Suva because of the associated costs.

"Now that our coconuts will be sold on the island, it should help us financially in many ways," he said.

Biofuels - liquid fuels derived from plant materials - are entering the market, driven by factors such as oil price spikes and the need for increased energy security.

Biofuels provided 1.8 per cent of the world's transport fuel in 2008. Investment into biofuels production capacity exceeded $4billion worldwide in 2007.

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