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HOW PALM KERNEL SHELL AND FIBRE PRODUCED WATTS OF ELECTRICITY

Written By AGRICULTURAL GIST on Saturday, 25 June 2016 | Saturday, June 25, 2016

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      Palm fruit processing is associated with enormous waste such as kernel shell, fibre, husks etc. These products are not wastes as such as they could be converted into other useful products or recycled for other purposes. In the rural areas, the by-products are burnt in open places or dumped into the bins. Burying these products result in environmental pollution. This calls for alternative uses of these products. A project was carried out in Chief Ojukwu
Oil Mill located at Amokwe Item in Bende Local Government of Abia State, Nigeria. The Oil Mill was established by one of our late credible leaders "Michael Okpara" in 1952. The aim is to Quantify and determine the heat and electrical power generated from these wastes. In the farm there is nothing like petrol, diesel or kerosene as palm kernel shell and fibre are used to produce electricity. This makes the farm very cheap and people from very far place visit the farm to process their palm fruit. However much people visit the farm for palm fruit processing, not only because it is cheap but also the quantity of oil being extracted by the equipments powered by palm kernel shell is much more bigger than the ones that is got from equipments powered by diesel engines.
     Energy generated from palm kernel shell and fibre can be used to produce electricity for a whole country. Power generation has being a serious problem in the world over especially in the developing world. In Nigeria, in the year 2005, only about 55.2% of the entire country was electrified and average household had electricity had electricity for only 8 hours per day (NBS, 2006). Today the power generation has gone very bad, even worse than what we have experience in the past. The state of Nigerian power generation system is a terrible one where no one can be sure of 4 hours power generation. This calls for alternative source of energy. Wastes from palm fruit processing are excellent materials for such source. 
     For people that want to establish oil processing mill, you don't have to start wasting money purchasing petrol or diesel which is very costly. What you have to do is to use the available resources in your farm to produce the energy required in your palm oil processing mill. In the farm where this project is carried out, the following were available; the boiler, the steam engine, the central pulley system, the alternator, the ammeter for reading the current and other agricultural machines. Much energy is being produced in the farm. The energy required to power the agricultural machines needed in the mill for palm fruit processing and the electrical power required to power other electrical appliances in the farm such as refrigerators and the welding machines

     The wastes (kernel shell and fibre) were being burnt in the oven, right inside the boiler. 
The chemical energy inside the boiler was converted to heat energy. The loading was continuous until the pressure gauge attached to the boiler reaches 50 bars. This is the minimum amount of pressure required to effectively start the steam engine. Before the loading starts, the pressure outlet attached to the boiler was closed; this is to quicken the pressure generation. 
     Therefore as the pressure reaches 50 bars, the pressure outlet valve was opened. The steam moves out with great pressure through the pressure valve. A greater percentage of the steam goes to the steam engine while the rest move to the sterilizers for palm fruit processing. As it goes to the steam engine it pushes the piston with a great pressure. The heat energy from the boiler is being converted to mechanical energy by the steam engine. As the piston rotates, motion is being transferred to the fly wheel (linear motion is being converted to rotary motion by the crank shaft). Rotary motion is being transferred to central pulley system by a connecting belt where other agricultural machines including the centrifugal extractor which makes use of air during extraction process. The alternator is also connected to the central pulley system. The alternator converts mechanical energy generated by the steam engine to electrical energy. The electrical power generated was used to weld, power refrigerators, agricultural machines and to generate light for the farm. If this system of power generation is adopted, then power generation wouldn't be a problem in Nigeria, and other countries.

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