Biodegradable and renewable coconut coir has an important place among bioenergy crops. All parts of coconut palm trees are useful for everyday essentials, especially in isolated areas where the trees are profuse and where it is problematic to obtain other materials. Coconut shells, however, including coco coir and coir dust, can be utilized in producing a large assortment of useful green products. Coir from coconut shells is also a valuable source of clean, environmentally-friendly energy.
What Are Bioenergy Crops?
Bioenergy crops aid in conserving the earth’s natural resources. Products used for energy that are already available as a result of waste material from food is good for the environment as it prevents unnecessary destruction of natural resources. This is where the bioenergy use of coco coir comes in.
The bioenergy crops of coconut palm trees are utilized to create a variety of energy-producing substances — the three most prominent being charcoal, oil, and gas.
How Coir Bioenergy is Produced
Coco coir, high in lignin and cellulose, is taken through a three-step process in order to break it down into usable fuel.
First, it is pretreated to both remove lignin and to increase enzyme accessibility to cellulose. The second process results in glucose production, and finally, the third process converts that glucose to ethanol. Ethanol, produced by bioenergy crops like coco coir, is found in many products, such as sanitizing products like medical wipes. But is also used as a fuel additive found in some gasoline that helps to reduce emissions.
By being transformed into charcoal, coco coir and coconut husks may be used to replace wood in the production of heat. It may also be used on a larger scale, such as in a power plant to produce geographical electricity, or in its activated carbon form after being treated with oxygen, to help with water purification in a treatment plant.
Charcoal is produced from these bioenergy crops by heating the coconut husks without oxygen, often in kilns or in hearths, until the water is removed. This process is known as pyrolysis, a complex procedure that destroys organic matter but that creates fuel from this renewable resource, making it more environmentally friendly.
The pyrolysis technique to create charcoal is a slow one that takes a longer heating period. A faster pyrolysis technique produces bio-oil and biogas. Bio-oil is used in special engines rather than standard internal combustion engines, or it can be converted into bio-diesel.
Biogas is utilized in the production of a mixture of gases known as syngas, which is cleaned and then used as a component to produce electricity. It is also an element in the creation of some battery components.
Besides charcoal, oil, and gas, the bioenergy crop known as coco coir may be used to generate other products that provide heat, such as boards used to build housing, resulting in energy savings. The year-round availability of the renewable coco coir resource makes it a prime candidate to satisfy energy needs by using a readily available renewable product.