Association president Teava Iro said although there is still much work left to do on the project, machines at the Ministry of Agriculture that are using the oil seem to be working fine.
“We wanted to see how far we can improve from just relying on fossil fuel. We collected recycled canola oil from restaurants and fish and chips shops around the island, and we filtered the oil and mixed it with diesel and did our experiment.”
The growers participating in the experiment went as making a half and half mixture and used it in farm tractors. And despite the lack of access to technology and a shortage of finance, Iro hopes the association’s move towards a supportable future will progress over the next few years.
“We learned that we need to change the fuel filter of the tractors more frequently. I know that there are technologies out there that can help improve the whole process, but in order to get to that level, we need more training and more tools.
“Everything is done manually, but if our production builds up to the level that we need then maybe we can recommend expanding it from where we are.”.
Iro said the association had previously put some effort into securing funds for their fuel project and had used some of the information they had discovered then, as part of a document about the project compiled during a Brilliant Resilient seminar held at the National Auditorium Centre this year.
The association could not yet recommend that anyone should switch over to using the new fuel mix at this stage because the association lacked the right equipment. It’s primitive at this stage in terms of how we filter and clean the recycled cooking oil, he said.
“We are not really looking to using it for general transport, but for the farming sector at least it will be able to contribute towards reducing carbon emission into the atmosphere and we do hope to get some assistance soon.”
Iro said the idea was to process coconut oil for the same purpose so that no fuel ingredients had to be imported.
“That’s the whole idea of us diverting our attention from relying fully on fossil fuel, and we are confident that we will get there.”