Island leads in biofuel energy


An island in Fiji produces enough energy to light up their homes and power appliances all year long using biofuel from coconuts.<!--more--> Koro Island villagers are making use of the abundance of coconut trees and using their copra making skills to produce electricity, thereby saving on the full cost of fossil fuels. The biodiesel or renewable diesel (R20) is made up of 80 per cent diesel and 20 per cent coconut oil.

Nacamaki village is host to the Koro Biofuel Mill, one of the first biofuel project sites in Fiji, which opened in March 2010. Other trial project sites are Taveuni and Vanuabalavu. The Mill produces an average of 520 litres of filtered oil per day from 1.2 tonnes of copra and operates for 240 days a year.

It produces enough biodiesel to meet the island’s demands. For the some 283 residents of Nacamaki village, regular access to electricity for four to five hours a night allows the 73 homes to own and operate appliances like a television, mobile phones, an iron and for some, even a washing machine.

Under Fiji’s Rural Electrification Policy, the standard for each household is one power point and two lights.  The biofuel can be used to power these appliances. Each household pays FJ$3.50 a week (equivalent to FJ$0.50 a day) to have access to electricity and power all year round.

The Government-funded biofuel mills are part of the renewable energy demonstration component of the US$975,000 Fiji Renewable Energy Power Project (FREPP) that is funded by the Global Environment Facility, and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme in partnership with Fiji’s Department of Energy.