Asses the use of coconut only in brazil and how to make more sustainable the production of bio diesel - Research Proposal Example

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We have gone from several hundred million to more than 6 billion people worldwide, with no end in sight. Yet, it seems that we continue to utilize the limited resources…
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Brazilian Coconut Oil and the Production of Bio Diesel Executive Summary It is staggering to consider how much the earth’s population has increased in the last few hundred years. We have gone from several hundred million to more than 6 billion people worldwide, with no end in sight. Yet, it seems that we continue to utilize the limited resources we have available as if there is no end. The reality is that with so many people, and an increasing appetite for fuel and energy, we are at a standstill. In order to progress as a civilization, we must continue to look for ways to sustain a global population of up to 10 billion people, while ensuring that our resources do not dwindle to levels that will cause our eventual destruction. It is a delicate balancing act the environmentalists have been grappling with for decades, and now the world gradually seems to be heeding that call. One available option is to look for raw and renewable resources that we have at our disposal to provide much of the world with cheaper and more environmentally friendly biodiesel. This report has generated the knowledge that coconut oil is showing great promise in this area, and Brazil is a country that is potentially able to provide much of its own biodiesel in the form of its own naturally available coconut trees scattered throughout the region. The aim of the study has been to determine the feasibility of implementing a massive effort in Brazil to use coconut oil in the production of biodiesel fuel in the near future.
Topic Overview
Part of building a sustainable future for all inhabitants of the earth involves making use of the raw materials that we have today. For ages, the world’s population has been known to discard raw materials that they seemingly have no use for, yet new findings are suggesting that many such materials may unlock the mystery of how to lessen our dependence on non-renewable resources (Kumar 557). For some time now, bio diesel has been seen as one such way to provide a much needed source of energy and power to the world, yet it has required too many of the earth’s resources that we are simply unable to replenish. This is beginning to change, however, with the discovery that some of the raw materials we have in abundance, and can replenish, are able to produce bio diesel fuel in record amounts. One such possibility involves taking coconut oil and turning it into a biodiesel that can be early produced and utilized on a massive scale (Kumar 558). Brazil is one of the world’s largest sources of coconuts, so it makes sense to focus a project around Brazilian coconut oil and its potential to one day become a leading component in the production of biodiesel.
According to recent statistics, Brazil is the fourth largest coconut producing country in the world, being home to nearly 5% of the world’s coconuts. Coconut trees are located throughout the Amazon and other tropical areas of the country, and the potential of this crop is really only beginning to be tapped into. Coconuts themselves provide a variety of useful resources to the people that rely on them including food, liquid beverages, oil, medicine, fiber, timber, thatch, and fuel. In essence, nearly every part of the coconut, and its corresponding tree can prove useful to humanity and the earth in some way (Oguntola 98). One of the areas that is less developed that others, however, rests in the production of coconut oil. While such oil has been used throughout generations in a variety of ways, it has now become feasible to take the oil from the coconut and turn it into a much needed source of sustainable energy in the form of bio diesel.
Turning coconut oil into biodiesel is not necessarily a new idea, and it has shown some great promise. While the coconut itself has multiple uses, as mentioned, the popularity of the oil itself has been waning in recent years. Recent engineering breakthroughs have made it possible that the oil can be used to produce biodiesel fuel, and this could help jumpstart a Brazilian industry that has flagging as of late. This concept would prove revolutionary in many developing regions of the world that depend daily on diesel fuel for a variety of reasons, many of which rely on its ability to provide for every day electricity needs. The expense of regular diesel has become difficult for many people to bear, however, so the introduction of a sustainable resource such as coconut oil could be just what is needed.
Key Findings
Research indicates that the coconut oil can be used as a biodiesel fuel. The reality is, however, that the process can be quite complicated and cumbersome to implement. For regions that depend on diesel fuel, however, and for a world that has grown increasingly dependent on non-renewable and unsustainable sources of energy, there may be no other option moving forward. We already know the vegetable oil has long been used to convert into a biodiesel fuel, so the same can certainly be done with coconut oil from Brazil over time. Basically, it has been determined that it takes roughly 10 fully developed coconuts to produce one liter of diesel (Tupufia and Jeon 721). The oil itself is extracted from the copra of the plant through a process of grating, drying, and pressing.
Once the process have been refined and reactors are built to produce mass quantities of biodiesel, it is quite possible to create much cheaper fuel than is currently available on the market (Balat and Balat 1815). The key is for the developing nations of the world to permit the facilities for such biodiesel to be conducted without instituting cost prohibitive taxing measures on the fuel. In areas of the Brazil that have large numbers of coconut trees, the process of refining the oil into biodiesel should be seen as a way to locally produce fuel without a need to import much, if any, methanol or sodium hydroxide. Overall expenses in these regions would be lowered as transportation costs associated with field would be minimized, labor costs would be reduced, and the actual production costs would be drastically lower as well. Furthermore, it is important to tote that the fuel produced is not only cleaner, but makes use of naturally reoccurring raw materials that readily available throughout much of the country of Brazil.
In considering the importance of this topic, it is important to consider the reality that worldwide petroleum consumption has steadily increased over the past three decades. This has actually served to increase the standard of living in areas that have ready access to such fuel. It has also increased the amount of transportation worldwide, in addition to the consumption of plastics and other petrochemicals (Jiang and Tan 102). To satisfy this growing hunger and thirst for fuel and its associated benefits, non-renewable sources of energy have been sorely depleted throughout the earth. Coconut oil, however, is a domestically available natural source of biodiesel that can give Brazil all of these benefits, and more.
Consider the fact that, while Brazil’s economy is certainly flourishing, much of the country remains mired in poverty. With the increasing cost of fuel hitting the region, coconut oil is increasingly being looked to as a source that may allow everyday Brazilians could then continue to grow their own economy, lower expenses, and focus on minimizing the use of non-renewable sources of energy all at the same time. Biodiesel itself is a liquid fuel that is primarily used by the transportation sector, and it is produced from a biomass. As Brazil is largely a mountainous and heavily forested country, transportation can be quite difficult and expensive, yet necessary. Biomass, such as that found in coconut oil, can result in various types of fuel that enable the used of renewable biological sources (Nakpong and Woothikanokkhan 1682). It has the advantage of lower prices and a decreased harm to the environment. In essence, it is a consideration that can no longer be ignored.
It should be noted as well that, “There are active research programs to reduce reliance on fossil fuels by the use of alternative and sustainable fuel sources, and thus to increase the time over which fossil fuels will still be available” (Balat 1817). As the earth only has so much fossil fuel available, it is critical that we realize our modern era is going through the available resources much too quickly. In short, the process of utilizing coconut oil, while still be refined and explored, is readily available today. It has been discovered that, “The conversion of coconut oils into biodiesel is an effective way to overcome all the problems associated with using such oils in the refining process. Dilution, micro-emulsification, pyrolysis, and transesterification are the four techniques applied to solve the problems encountered with high fuel viscosity” (Jiang and Tan 104). In essence, the vicinity in diesel has made it difficult to utilize natural resources in the past, yet new ways of making animal fats and oils work with the biodiesel production stage have shown promise and are being found useful in many developing regions of the world. Given Brazil’s high number of available regions to harvest coconut trees, and its dependence upon fuel, using coconut oil as a means of biofuel production seems to be a plausible alternative moving towards the future.
Reflective Analysis and Concluding Remarks
Our thirst for fuel today is seemingly never ending. On the one hand, this unquenchable desire for fuel and energy has created an economic expansion and prosperity that has never before been seen. On the other hand, this desire for progress has resulted in the destruction of great parts of the environment. Brazil is certainly no exception to this thought. The country has a vast amount of raw materials that can be used for fuel, which one would naturally think should be utilized. On the other hand, however, this can create a temporary disruption to the very rainforest and other natural areas endemic to the region that have stood for perhaps millions of years. The choice is not an easy one.
While the rational option is likely to do anything possible to eliminate dependence on fossil fuels, one could argue that we are approaching this from the wrong angle. Perhaps we should be working to decrease our reliance on fuel and energy altogether. There are other sources of energy, such as solar power, that are equally well in abundance and do not require the harvesting of natural resources in order to quench a man made hunger for progress. Consider one of the facts mentioned in this project. It takes the oil from 10 coconuts to produce just one liter of biodiesel. Given the rate at which our reliance on such fuel is growing on an annual basis, the sheer volume of coconut trees that would need to be harvested grows exponentially as well.
While few would deny that such raw materials can be useful in create a cheaper and cleaner fuel, and one that is more environmentally friendly, the toll that such production can take on the earth must be considered as well. While Brazil is now the fourth largest producers of coconuts in the world. their supply of such a vital food would dwindle rapidly should oil be harvested in this manner on a massive scale. One must weight the economic benefits of such a move against the possibility that the environment and mankind could be harmed in other ways as a result. It is my belief that a focus on decreasing our reliance on such fuels in the first place should occur prior to consider the destruction of viable crops in a region lacking in much to begin with.
In the end, it is likely that for progress to continue in the world, diesel is the best alternative for the foreseeable future. At the same time, we must be looking towards a future where were increasingly rely only on renewable sources of energy that provide no measurable harm to our environment. This is difficult, which is likely why many fail to consider it at the present time. The destruction of millions of acres of forest, however, for the sake of a few liters of diesel seems to be overkill and is not in our best interest for the long term. While the economic benefits certainly exist, and the developing nations of the world could benefit greatly from increased access to cheaper fuel, there are other sources of such energy that should be considered first. In the end, that will make the world a much cleaner place that can be enjoyed by future generations to come.
Works Cited
Balat, Mustafa and Balat, Havva. “Progress in Biodiesel Processing”. Applied Energy, 87.6 2010: 1815-1835.
Jiang, Jian-Jhong and Tan, Chung-Sung. “Biodiesel Production from Coconut Oil in Supercritical Methanol in the Presence of Cosolvent”. Journal of the Taiwan Institute of Chemical Engineers, 43.1 2012: 102-107.
Kumar, Dharmendra. “Fast, Easy Ethanolysis of Coconut Oil for Biodiesel Production Assisted by Ultrasonication”. Ultrasonics Sonochemistry, 17.3 2010: 555-559.
Nakpong, Piyanuch and Woothikanokkhan, Sasiwimol. “High Free Fatty Acid Coconut Oil as a Potential Feedstock for Biodiesel Production in Thailand”. Renewable Energy, 35.8 2010: 1682-1687.
Oguntola, Alamu. “Production and Test of Coconut Oil Biodiesel Fuel and its Blend”. Leonardo Journal of Science, 9.16 2010: 95-104.
Tupufia, Samani and Jeon, Young Jae. “Enzymatic Conversion of Coconut Oil for Biodiesel Production.” Fuel Processing Technology, 106.1 2013: 721 Read More
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