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BYU Students Turn Coconut Oil Into Fuel

BYU Students Turn Coconut Oil Into Fuel



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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- Some BYU students have found a use for coconuts often left to rot on the ground in Tonga.

The engineering students were challenged to find a fuel source from materials found in the island nation.

The students ended up creating a process for turning coconut oil into biodiesel. It's an idea that could have a big impact in Tonga.

BYU team members Rachel Martin and Jared Geddes prepare coconuts for the process of generating biodiesel from the nuts' oil. Courtesy: BYU
BYU team members Rachel Martin and Jared Geddes prepare coconuts for the process of generating biodiesel from the nuts' oil. Courtesy: BYU

Most everything in the South Pacific country runs on diesel -- which must be imported.

Coconut oil was once a major export for the country but was pushed out of favor by soybean oil. The new process could allow the Tongan people to create their own fuel using plentiful coconuts.

To make the fuel, methanol and sodium hydroxide would have to be imported, but those are much cheaper than importing diesel fuel.

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Information from: The Daily Herald

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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