Monday, 25 August 2008 1:33 PM

Potential Fuel for Solomon Islands

With the ever increasing fuel prices felt globally due to market speculations and near depletion of fuel reserves in petroleum exporting countries, many have switched to bioethanol as an alternative to gasoline fuel.

Recently, one of our formar parliamentarians Mr. Alfred Sasako commented in the Solomon Star newspaper urging our nation in particular our government to provide farm subsidies for our local farmers to grow more corn for bioethanol production. While his suggestion could be seen as one of the many solutions in tackling our dependence on foreign gasoline, it is soundly difficult to achieve, environmentally non-friendly and is not cost-effective.

Instead, a much better idea is to invest in simple technologies which could be easily handled by our engineers and scientists to mass produce bioethanol for usage as vehicle fuel.

Currently, our laboratory of environmental microbiology is conducting studies on ethanol production from golf grasses instead of corn. we are using purified enzymes from microbes capable of fermenting lignin to produce ethanol from grasses. while it is still in the laboratory scale, few companies in collaboration with our research team has successfully produced bioethanol from golf grasses and currently test running them on vehicles. so far, results indicated 90% efficiency both in production and usage.

By using golf grasses, we avoid using corn as our source of bioethanol as we all know that corn is also consumed by humans. thus, we avoid competition with human food. further to that, all other environmental aspirations are also achieved. While I can not reveal all the findings at this stage since it is still in the experimental stage, my point is that our government should invest in such simple technologies which are very compatible not only to our local economic situation but also to our environment. Projects like poultry, piggery and fuel depot in our rural villages won't achieve much.

Until our politicians and law makers change their ways of approaching our nation's problems, we shall achieve less or nothing at all in improving economic situation. socialists and economists cannot do it alone. Science and simple teachnology incorporated with those so called economists together could be one of the best answers. Hopefully our small research team could be of help to solomon islands fuel dependence sometimes in the near future.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Sam Viulu and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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