The Potential of Coconut Shell as Biofuel
Authors: Ibrahim Yerima; Mohammed Zanna Grema
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The potential of coconut shell as a crop residue and its use as a biofuel has been ignored by our local communities and researchers, despite its importance as an alternative fuel in homes and small-scale industries. Today due to the increasing demand and cost of petroleum energy caused by decreasing supply and cost of firewood as a result of deforestation, demand and increasing population, coconut shell as a valuable biofuel must be viewed with seriousness. When coconut shell is used as a fuel, this attempt to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and sanitizes the environment of the injurious hard shell in addition to providing alternative and better source of fuel than fuelwood and other traditional fuel among the poor rural communities especially in developing countries. This reduces the demand and cost of fossil fuel as domestic energy. In this research, the potential of coconut shell was investigated by measuring a number of parameters ranging from moisture content, ash content, density and caloric value and specific heat capacity. Moisture content is considered as the most important parameter of the five parameters measured. The result of this research indicates a moisture content of approximately 9%, ash content 1.1%, density 0.98cm3, calorific value of 17.7mj/ kg and a fuel value index (FVI) of 810. Among all the agricultural crop resources namely, rice husk, sugarcane biomass, maize straw, rice straw, coconut frond and leaves, coconut shell has the highest biomass quality and the most utilized since it can be processed into charcoal due to high lignin content. Conclusively, considering the above measurement and results obtained from the coconut biomass as a biofuel, it is essential and necessary to encourage the use of coconut shell as a domestic fuel, particularly in the rural areas of developing countries where petroleum energy, deforestation and fuel wood scarcity is a challenge.