A team of researchers at Baylor University, Texas, have figured out a way to make car parts from coconuts, opening the door to the replacement of environmentally damaging plastic with an abundant, renewable resource.
The team have also created biodiesel from coconut oil, and are confident the new fuel could be an economically viable substitute for gasoline, as well as a vital source of income for more than ten million coconut farmers worldwide struggling on tiny annual incomes, typically as little as $500.
So far, the researchers have constructed prototype versions of floorboards, trunk-liners and car-door interiors from coconut husks, which are normally burned or thrown away as a waste product.
According to project leader, Prof. Walter Bradley, “We are trying to turn trash into cash to help poor coconut farmers. The fiber has very good strength, stiffness and ductility, and potentially can be used for all kinds of things.”
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