June 16, 2004  (STAR) By Ramon Ma. Epino  -  The tree of life in the Philippines will soon notch another benefit for the country that will energize the economy and clean up the air. In these times of increasing cost of fuel for engines of public transport, coco biodiesel is a boon to 3.5 million coconut farmers and 20 million Filipinos dependent on the coconut industry. Add to that the transport industry.

Biodiesel is a renewable and biodegradable diesel fuel extracted from plant oil. As a natural hydrocarbon with negligible sulfur content, it will substantially help in reducing emissions from diesel-fed engines. It is now commonly used in the United States, Canada, Thailand and many other countries in Europe.

The country is fortunate to have a ready source of biodisel with its vast plantations of coconuts — 300 million trees — in 3.31 million hectares in 64 out of 74 provinces, a quarter of the country’s cultivated lands.

Explains Administrator Danilo Coronacion of the Philippine Coconut Authority:

"The Philippines has launched the use of coco-biodiesel (coconut methyl ester or CME). CME, compared with other forms of biodiesel, offers excellent lubricity, solvency and detergency. Studies show that the addition of biodiesel gives better combustion, less pollution and more engine power resulting in engines running smoothly with longer maintenance intervals."

Because of its outstanding characteristics, coco-biodiesel is considered first rate and highly adaptable. It lowers emission of nitrous oxide and sulfur oxide, the main contributors to smog. It also significantly reduces serious air pollutants such as black smoke and air toxics that cause lung cancer, pulmonary tuberculosis, pneumonia, bronchitis, heart attack and stroke. Biodiesel means less emission and cleaner air.

Economic Benefits To Stakeholders

To vehicle owners and drivers, coco-biodiesel’s superior lubricating and cleaning properties cut maintenance costs as it promotes more efficient combustion and less engine vibration because of its higher cetane number and inherent oxygen content. It also improves fuel economy by as much as 20 percent for more mileage and savings as it boosts engine power and acceleration.

Adds Coronacion: "For the coconut industry coco-biodiesel will provide and establish a long term sustainable alternative domestic market that will stabilize domestic price of copra. At the same time, it will enhance farm-based reintegration of coconut production, resulting in more income opportunities.

"Coco-biodiesel will spearhead the introduction of the ester industry in the Philippines – an industry that would create more jobs and provide potential high-value export products.

"Moreover, cocodiesel will promote participation of the Philippines in the potentially huge biofuel industry. and enhance energy supply security through the use of indigenous resources resulting in foreign exchange savings. It would also be possible to enhance energy supply security through the use of indigenous resources at the same time generating foreign exchange savings."

What Coco-Biodiesel Can Do

Coco-biodiesel can be used in any diesel engine with little or no modification to the fuel system. It actually improves the quality of diesel fuel because of the following properties:

High lubricity which protects the engine from wear and tear. 2) Detergency which cleans the fuel system. 3) Solvency which dissolves and cleans the combustion chamber from carbon deposits.

Simply add one percent equivalent of coco-biodiesel to the fuel in the tank. To a load of 50 liters of diesel fuel add 500 millimeters of coco-bio-diesel. For 10 liters add 100 ml of coco-diesel.

Why only one per cent? While the World Fuel Charter allows blends of up to five percent, studies show that a mere one percent mix of coco-diesel is enough to significantly reduce emissions.

Adding cocodiesel will incur additional cost, but since more mileage per liter of cocodiesel can be achieved, the savings will be about P1 per additional kilometer traveled. In effect, cocodiesel doubles the value of the expense for fuel investment.

Coco biodiesel can be bought from distribution outlets and manufacturers/suppliers accredited by the Department of Energy (DOE). These outlets and supplier sell the product that complies with the Philippine National Standards.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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