Coconut oil - combining energy supply and income diversification

Rural electrification projects in most Pacific Island countries (PICs) have been predominantly diesel-based; such projects face challenges due to high transportation costs, remoteness and lack of income-generating opportunities.
The Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) and CTA (the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation) jointly funded a small-scale coconut oil processing project. Utilising the local copra supply as biofuel for rural electrification combined with the production of valued-added products to diversify the income base is found to be a viable and sustainable option for rural communities in the PICs.
The project is a full package, consisting of a mini oil mill, settling tanks, equipment for blending the coconut oil with diesel, and an 18 kVa indirect injection diesel engine. These have been installed and commissioned at the Centre for Appropriate Technology and Development (CATD) in the Fiji Islands and have been operating successfully.

Frank Vukikomoala
Economic Development Division
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) - Suva, Fiji

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