Coir Board to set up 10-MW power plant in district
Coir pith can now be used as an energy source, courtesy an initiative by the Coir Board. Experiments conducted by the research and development wing of the board have concluded that electricity can be generated from the spongy coir pith which is traditionally considered waste, and used to fill low-lying lands.
The board is now planning to set up a power generation project from coir pith, a first of its kind in the country.
“We are in talks with a Mumbai-based firm which has agreed to set up a 10-MW plant that will produce power using coir pith,” G. Balachandran, Chairman of the Coir Board which functions under the Union Ministry of Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises, said.
The proposed unit, with an estimated investment of Rs.50 crore, would come up in Thiruvananthapuram. Power would be generated after removing moisture from the coir pith. “The Mumbai firm has the patent for a special dryer,” he added.
For continuous availability of raw material for the power unit, the Coir Board will launch a programme for scientific procurement of coconut husk.
Coir pith is taken from husk, the main raw material for coir. Currently, only 30 per cent of the husk is being converted into coir. “Tractors of the board will take rounds of houses and farms that grow coconut trees, and collect husk for the power project,” said Mr. Balachandran.
The endeavour comes just days after the Coir Board got into a pact with Silk Board to develop a cloth blending coir with other natural fibres such as sisal, jute, and raw silk. The fabric will be used mainly as curtain and other furnishing materials.