Coconuts have a very hard shell that can be used in many different ways, a new suggestion by a team of researchers says that the really good part of the shell is the coconut’s husk which can be turned into car parts.
The approach has potential because coconuts are an abundant, renewable resource in all countries near the equator, including the Philippines, Indonesia and India. The husks are burned or thrown away, generating garbage. This is the first time that coconut fibers have been used to make these automotive products, said Walter Bradley, an engineering professor who is leading the project.
In Ghana, as one of Bradley’s students told him, the discarded husks pile up in mounds, creating a health hazard because they collect water where malaria-causing mosquitoes can breed.
“We are trying to turn trash into cash to help poor coconut farmers,” Bradley said, adding that the long-term goal is to increase demand for coconuts to millions of pounds, and thereby raise their market price.
Currently, there are about 11 million coconut farmers in the world making an average annual income of $500, he said.