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Following are the stories of ordinary individuals from small islands who have made a difference in their respective communities and who have been, to a large extent, the driving force at the grassroots level behind the upcoming Mauritius international conference on the future of small islands, scheduled from 10-14 January in Mauritius.

Other such stories are available on a special UN Works Website.

 Bringing light into many homes in Tonga Tapu

Tim Jones wants to make a difference. His company Extreme Power Samoa has been spending valuable time researching and experimenting on using coconut oil as a reliable fuel source in the Pacific region. Most Pacific small island economies are heavily dependant on imports of vital good, including diesel fuel. Tim’s company for instance, spends close to US$10 million a year in diesel cost. However with the progress on expanding use of coconut oil as fuel this dependency will soon decrease. He hopes the local economy will be simultaneously stimulated through the demand for the natural processing of coconut oil harvesting. 

The advantages of using coconut oil as fuel are many. Without carbon monoxide emissions coconut oil pollutes little. Coconut oil also decrease costly engine repairs due to a 20 per cent higher lubricity than regular diesel. Research shows coconut oil may also yield 10 percent higher burning efficiency than diesel due to high content of oxygen molecules saturated in the oil. Most promising is the discovery that a standard diesel engine can successfully use both coconut and diesel oil. That makes a duel fuel system possible; one that can switch back and forth from diesel to coconut oil depending on availability and protects against low stocks.

Recently, Extreme Power Samoa outfitted generators to burn duel fuel (diesel and coconut oil) and put them to use- making a huge difference in the lives of many. Villages in Tonga with no previous access to electricity have successfully used coconut oil to run the generators and bring electricity into their homes. Not only was the fuel for the generators natural, relying solely on natural and renewable sources, but it also benefited the local population. Tim’s company bought the generators by selling raw materials made by the villagers and the fuel too was made by them.

A truly winning proposition for the environment, the economy and the people who use it!

The photograph above attests to the success of coconut oil fuel in the village of Ma'ufanga in the district of Nuku'alofa in Tonga where the light shines bright on Tavita Kofe and his granddaughter Loveni Muna Tavake. 

For more information, please contact Tim Jones, General Manager, Extreme Samoa


Island Stories

Community activism may not be what is expected of a mother. But that is what Gemma Gades chose to do to protect her community.

We borrow the earth from our children it is said, and a unique centre in Barbados is doing its best to ensure a safer world for them.

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