Ghana is one of the African countries whose population growth rate is tremendous. One of the challenges that the country faces, is the access to electricity due to the large population. So far, only 15% of the country is connected to electricity, and 80% of the population relies on wood as its source of fuel. Developing alternative means of electricity and fuel sources will be the most significant breaks for the country, especially if it is cocoa fuel.
The inventory of cocoa biofuel is probably one of the most significant breaks for the country. The ongoing research aims at proving ways of making good use of the cocoa husks after harvesting. The best part of the project is that it aims at solving the problem of climate change. Generally, the whole research will be of significant impact to the community since it will equally affect other sectors like creating employment, as well as providing an extra source of energy
How is cocoa fuel obtained?
Cocoa pods are the part of the plant where cocoa beans are obtained and used to make chocolates. For the past years, the most beneficial part of the cocoa tree has been the cocoa beans. During the process of harvesting, the pods are detached from the tree, and the husks burst open, to remove the cocoa beans which proceed to the process of making cocoa. The husks are what are left as waste.
As a means of making them beneficial, the husks are collected into heaps and left to decompose. The process of decomposing goes on for a while, and the husks turn into nutritious components that are advantageous to the cocoa trees. The nutrients are also crucial since they help kill the microbial components that cause diseases on the trees. They also improve the quality of the soil.
In as much as the husks are beneficial to the cocoa trees, there are demerits of this process of managing this waste. One of the significant challenges is distributing the nutrients to the rest of the farm. Such problems have prompted the research on ways of proving that cocoa husks can be a source of sustainable energy.
Is cocoa biofuel environmentally safe?
Organic waste recycling is one of the safest and most lucrative ways of waste management. The process aims at converting waste into products which are beneficial and more harmless to the environment. One of these materials that one can recycle include; cocoa pod husks. According to the ongoing research by the University of Nottingham in the UK, there is a possibility of converting cocoa pod husks into cocoa biofuel.
The intended advantages of cocoa fuel
In most cases, recycling wastes aim to innovate green technology. This process intends to come about with the following benefits;
1. Increasing the country’s rural access to electricity
Like most African countries, Ghana aims at attaining 100% access to electricity by 2030. Adopting the project of converting cocoa pod husks into biofuel is one of the strategies that the country seeks to use towards achieving this goal. This strategy will also minimize the overdependence on the other sources of electricity.
2. Minimizing climate change
The project equally aims at reducing the impact of climate change. This goal will be achieved by decreasing the overdependence of trees as a source of fuel. The country’s largest population depends on wood as a source of fuel. Adopting the use of cocoa pod husks as an alternative source of fuel will, in turn, reduce deforestation which has had a significant contribution towards climate change.
3. Improved human health
Air pollution is among the top four causes of human deaths in Ghana. Using wood as a fuel is a significant contributor to air pollution. The research aims at introducing a safer alternative source of fuel that will, in turn, curb these problems that arise from the use of wood as a fuel.
4. Source of employment
The self-sufficient project also aims at creating jobs for the personalities who will implement the project. The project aims at creating employment for those who will be involved in collecting, transporting, treating, and processing the husks. The targeted individuals for these jobs are the people in the rural areas.
Implementation of the project
The methodology of the project is to conduct research by setting up a prototype of the project at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. The prototype is to comprise of a small-scale bio-power electricity generation unit which is expected to burn the husks in a gasification system. The gasification systems are expected to have a solar drier, a pelletizer, a small generator, and a gasifier. The estimated cost of the project is $50,000 US dollars. The minds behind the project hope that the idea will be a success.
The invention of cocoa fuel is going to be one of the most lucrative method of organic waste recycling. Since the country is the second largest producer of cocoa in the world, using this method of fuel generation will be one of the most beneficial inventions. In due time, the country will export power and make good returns out of it. This is a project that is capable of transforming nearly all the sectors if the implementation process is followed to the latter.