Digicel has become the first mobile operator to run transmission sites on coconut oil fuel, having successfully run one tower for over two months.According to a report by Papua New Guinea's The National, Digicel noticed the booming coconut oil industry in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ABR) and 'approached Matthias Horn, the engineering mastermind behind the success story of the coconut oil fuel and came to an agreement to experiment on using coco oil' to run one of its cell sites in the area.
According to the report, the 'Digicel tower at Lontis on the northern tip of Buka has been running successfully on pure coconut oil for over two months now and this pilot project is expected to go on for at least three months'.
The report states Mr. Horn as saying that coconut oil is an 'environmentally-friendly product and with the current fuel prices, coco oil is a cheaper alternative and could become a major source of income for local copra producers'.
Digicel Pacific chief operations officer, Fiona McGloin, stated that the company is also 'experimenting on other environmentally- friendly power sources such as solar power to run transmission sites'.
Digicel is present in five countries around the region with plans to expand to the rest of the region. If all goes well in PNG, it could mean a similar move in the other countries it is present in which will mean a much more environmentally friendly telecommunications industry for the region. This is a promising move for a region so vulnerable to the changes in the environment.