Banana and Jack Energy

Banana and Jack Energy

Butyl alcohol, (Also called Butanol )

is a one to one substitute for both petrol and diesel. One researcher who conducted a trial run of 10,000 miles in the US state in a 15-year-old Buick car reported that with Butyl alcohol he achieved a performance of 25 miles per gallon as against 22 miles per gallon with petrol.


Sri Lankan scientist  S. P. U. S. Wickramasinghe has an interesting idea to share :


Butyl alcohol can be produced by the fermentation of sugars (glucose) using specific bacteria. The most common bacterium is from the Clostridium group. A problem with this group of bacteria is that they can tolerate Butyl alcohol in the fermenting base up to about 2%. Researchers, Rajesh Kumar Sahoo, A. Das, M Gaur, S. Dey, S. Sahoo and E. Subudhi reported in 2019 that Pseudomonas would yield 6.0% and faecal bacteria 3.5%

I believe that the Pseudomonas bacterium is found in this country. If it has not been identified, it is worthwhile for our bacteriologists to proceed to search for it.

One of the raw materials for this process is jackfruit – Artocarpus heterophyllus. Not the 80-foot-tall variety but the shorter one that is about 20-foot-tall. This has been developed at the HORTI institute of the Agricultural department at Peradeniya. A hectare of this plant can yield 100 tons.

The second plant that could provide raw material is banana. I refer specifically to sour plantain. This has material that can be converted to sugar and is slightly acidic to taste, which is sine qua non for fermentation. This plant with its wide canopy will prevent the soil from drying up, and provide mulch and nutrition to jack fruit trees.

The third is the coconut plant – in fact, coconut water, which has sugar in it.

Jackfruit trees

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has reported that the population of Sri Lanka was 21,919,000 in 2020. Supposing a four-member household consumes three coconuts a week for cooking, the volume of coconut water that could be harvested is 21,919,000/4x 3x52x 0.150 = 128,226,150 lt.

There are over 1,000,000 small /medium size food outlets in the country, some of them consuming about 80 nuts a day.

It will take at least five years to install a nuclear energy plant. During that period, if the organisation and the logistics are put in place, the country could find self-sufficiency in fuel and energy. This will help generate employment opportunities.

There is a non-governmental organisation, which promotes jackfruit cultivation. By 2012, it had planted about 1,000,000 jackfruit trees.

With proper leadership, organisation and proper logistics. We can make our country self-sufficient in fuel.

One country that has made it a policy to produce Butyl alcohol is China.

Many Products :

The products of this fermentation are Butyl alcohol, Ethyl alcohol, Acetone, Hydrogen and Carbon dioxide.

Butyl alcohol can be used in place of petrol and diesel. Ethyl alcohol can be used in place of diesel after mixing with ignition improvers, and hydrogen can be used in place of petrol or to generate electricity via fuel cells and carbon dioxide has been used to propel small planes, motor boats and Ref Cetonia engines.

There are reports that distilling Butyl alcohol is difficult. Nothing is further from the truth. I learnt distillation not from books but from the Stillmen and Fermentation Staff at the Distillery at Kantale and in Guyana. They are the best teachers.

I do hope that a university in Sri Lanka will undertake a study of products to replace petrol, diesel and coal in the near future.

There are some teething problems that have to be sorted out, and they include the fabrication of the distillation equipment, dehydration of Butyl alcohol produced in fermentation. The critical requirements are assistance for conducting research through 24×7 or may be 24x7x52 hrs sourcing a microbiologist to search for Pseudomonas bacterium or to import samples, quality analysis during the process.

Read full Report 


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