Coca Additive To Reduce Two-stroke Engine Pollution

CME seen as way to reduce smoke from two-cycle trike engines in the Philippines.

Published: 29-Jan-2003

lass=text>Officials of the Department of Science and Technology said Monday that the application of the coco-methyl ester (CME) as fuel for vehicles will greatly help drivers of tricycles with two-stroke engines to reduce their smoke emissions and delay the vehicles’ conversion into having a four-stroke engine.

Dr. Graciano Yumul, executive director of the Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research and Development (PCIERD) of the DOST, said that the move will help uplift the country’s coconut industry and raise the income of millions of coconut farmers.

“If you use CME as a lubricant to diesel or gasoline, the motor vehicles’ release of particulates or negative elements in the environment will be reduced. This will also be financially favorable for the tricycle drivers because the move meant a gradual phase-out for tricycles with two-stroke engines. They will have more time to look for means to upgrade their tricycles,” Yumul said in a news conference at the Rembrandt Hotel in Quezon City.

An executive order that will require vehicles of government agencies to use CME-added gasoline is set to be signed by President Arroyo.

Yumul explained that initially they will be pushing for the project in Romblon, where copra costs cheaper while diesel is said to be more expensive by P1 to P2 compared with prices in Metro Manila. “This kind of setup will stabilize copra prices.”

Yumul said a P12-million state-of-the-art CME plant to serve as a showcase to demonstrate the viability of CME will be established in Romblon. The plant will give vehicles, such as jeepneys and tricycles, access to diesel/gasoline with CME additives.

The plant shall have a capacity of 5,000 kg copra a day and is expected to produce 3,000 liters a day of methyl ester. Other by-products are copra meal, which is a raw material for feeds, and glycerine, which is high-value raw material in the cosmetics, pharmaceutical and food industries.

He noted that the transport sector has been encountering problems with regards to emissions since the country got used to applying motorcycle standards to tricycles.

“It is not fit to develop an originally designed vehicle as motorcycle into a tricycle. There are so many consideration in the manufacture of the latter like its loading capacity,” he said.

The project on the CME is being undertaken with the DOST-Southern Luzon, the office of Rep. Pepito Ylagan, the provincial government of Romblon and the Ugnayan ng mga Kooperatiba sa Romblon.

PCIERD officials said they already started a massive information campaign in the province to promote CME. They hope to replicate the experience in other parts of the country.

In Luzon, including Metro Manila, Yumul pointed to the Philippine Coconut Authority as the office tasked to promote the program.

CME is a biofuel being pushed to increase energy self-sufficiency in an environment-friendly manner and is an ideal resource to substitute for diesel owing to the abundance of coconut in the country.

CME is produced by the process called esterification, wherein coconut oil reacts with methyl alcohol in the presence of sodium hydroxide as catalyst, with glycerine as by-product.

Past studies have shown that CME is a good diesel fuel substitute both for stationary and automotive engines.

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