Kochi scientists convert coconut oil into biofuel

Six scientists from the Kochi based SCMS Institute of Bio-science and Biotechnology Research and Development, and the SCMS School of Engineering and Technology have converted coconut oil into biofuel.

The team have been running the four-stroke diesel engine of a Tata Ace light pick-up truck on coconut oil for the past year. They have now approached the union government to commercialise the biofuel.

While the makers of the Tata Ace claim mileage of 16 km to a litre of diesel, the head of the team of scientists C Mohankumar said the vehicle that they bought brand new a year ago has now done 20,000 km thus proving beyond doubt that coconut oil can replace diesel, and they can provide the product at Rs.40 a litre.

Mohankumar says they have applied for a US patent and approached the ministry of renewable energy to take this biofuel to its logical conclusion by commercialising it. He said there are also five by-products each of which has a market value.

Their study was published in the journal ‘Fuel’ and the Coconut Development Board Chairman T K Jose said they have studied the performance of the vehicle but do not have the funds to move forward on the innovation so they have approached the centre for the purpose. Also, emission levels of the biofuel are much lower than other similar products.