Petroleum Nut: Sustainable, Wonder Biofuel

Michael Bengwayan , Philippines

Petroleum Nut: Sustainable, Wonder Biofuel My discovery is not just exciting but fascinating because by planting and using the tree, people will not be dependent on fossil fuel and can help conserve forests and reduce earth warming.

Dr. Michael A. Bengwayan is the Director of the PINE TREE Cordillera Ecological Center

1. Director, Cordillera Ecological Education, Research and Information Centre
2. Faculty, The Management School of Restorative Business
3. Environment Editor, Brunei Times

Immediate Past Positions include:
1. Journalism Fellow, Reinhard Mohn Fellowship Program 2005
2. Social Entreprneurship Fellow, Echoing Green Foundation 2000 - 2004

His Educational Background includes:
1. Diploma on Social Entreprneurship, Rutgers University,New Jersey, USA
2. Echoing Green Foundation Fellow
3. Ph. D. Environmental Resource Management, University College Dublin, Ireland
4. Master of Science, Rural Development, Benguet State University
5. Diploma, Science and Technology Journalism, Kalmar University, Sweden

He has written the following books:
1. The Intellectual and Cultural Property Rights of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of Asia, Published by Minority Rights International, London, UK, 2003
2. Dam the Rivers, Damn the People: San Roque Dam, Philippines, Published by Probe International, Ottawa, Canada, 2005

I have discovered a tree that makes in five to six years what millions of years takes to create – that is to make petroleum.

My discovery is not just exciting but fascinating becuase by planting and using the tree, people will not be dependent on fossil fuel and can help conserve forests and reduce earth warming.

The tree called petroleum nut (Pittosporum resineferum) grows in the northern part of the Philippines. It is rich in heptane, myrcene, dihydropetrpene and e-pinene which are gasoline substances. It has a carbon rating of 54 much higher than Jatropha curcas which has only 41.

The tree bears fruits in five years time. One tree can yield an average 250 to 300 kg. It takes 15 kg of fresh fruits to produce 1 liter of highly flammable oil. The oil is extracted through cold press, and distillation. The oil comes from the fruit, not the seed.

The oil can totally replace liquified petroleum gas (LPG) for cooking, lighting, heating and drying.

We have tested it as a blend with fossil fuel and it can replace fossil fuel to as high as 20 per cent to run gasoline engines.

The tree is important because it is a sustainable source of biofuel. Also, it saves forests. If rural people will plant it and harvest the oil, then trees will no longer be cut for fuelwood.

The tree is also a very good carbon sink because the leaves are broad, thick and have high tannin and lignin content, thus it helps reduce global warming. It absorsb more carbon than other tree species.

The tree is difficult to plant because the seeds are covered by gum but I have discovered how to plant it. Three years ago, I have started planting it and have raised about 50,000 trees. I have discovered how to extract the oil and I am currently using the oil for cooking and lighting.

To help rural communities, I and my group (Cordillera Ecological Center) which is promoting the tree are in need of funds for the following purposes:

1. Mass produce cultivars that have the highest oil content

2. Set Up a cold press and distilling equipments to be able to extract oil more efficiently. We need an oil expeller with a capacity of at least one ton.

3. Train farmers to plant the tree and how to extract the oil.

You can read more about my work by searching my name and add petroleum nut in any search engine. The links below are the latest though and you can read from them: › Health & Science › Nature › ... › Regions

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