PH to test coco fiber as raw material for making roofs, block
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said an American engineering company has offered to establish a manufacturing facility in the Philippines that would produce housing materials like hollow blocks and roofs using coconut fiber as well as processed dirty plastics as binders for it.
Piñol said that James Wheeler and Kirk Johnson, owners of Buskirk Engineering of Indiana — a U.S. company that produces outstanding feed mills, bio-mass facilities and dirty plastics processing equipment — said the hollow blocks and roof making facility could give value to the country’s coconut husks, which are just being thrown away or burnt.
They said it will also help solve the country’s problems with dirty plastics, which could be used as a raw material for producing an environment-friendly material for housing construction.
“The two American engineers flew in Sunday to develop projects supported by the Department of Agriculture (DA) through its agencies Bureau of Agricultural Research, Philippine Fiber Development Authority (PhilFida) and the Philippine Carabao Center, and the Department of Science and Technology,” Piñol said.
Right now, the Philippines is the third biggest contributor of dirty plastics thrown into rivers, lakes and seas, after China and Indonesia.
The coconut industry, on the other hand, produces over 5 billion husks every year, half of which are just burned or thrown away while the other half is processed into coco coir and other products using coconut fiber.
Piñol said the ‘Coco-Blocks’ and ‘Coco-Roofings’ were actually developed by engineering researchers of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) in San Ramon Coconut Research Center in Zamboanga City.
The Coco-Blocks and Roofings developed by PCA Research, however, use cement as binders and the American engineers noted that the composition would allow the absorption of water and moisture.
Using dirty plastics as binders, Johnson said, would make the materials lighter and water resistant, aside from helping the country in cleaning up the rivers, lakes and seas with plastics.
“The development of these housing materials is part of the research and development program of the PCA aimed at discovering other high value items which could be produced from the coconut,” Piñol said.