Coconut Oil Powers Papua New Guinea

On one island, mini-refineries are turning coconut oil into diesel
By J. Kelman,  Newser User
Posted May 8, 2007 4:17 PM CDT
Coconut Oil Powers Papua New Guinea
Coconut   (Archive Photos)

It's the ultimate in energy independence. On Papua New Guinea's Bougainvillea island, residents are battling expensive and unreliable oil imports by making their own perfumed alternafuel—from local coconuts. The refined coconut oil functions as diesel, residents say, and has already generated inquiries from as far away as Iran.

"They sometimes refer to me as the Mad German because how can you do that to your car . . . filling it with some coconut juice that you normally fry your fish in," says Matthias Horn, a German immigrant who runs a refinery in his backyard. But the idea is catching on around the island. Says Horn, "Doesn't it sound good if you really run your car on something which falls off a tree?" (More Papua New Guinea stories.)

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