A newly developed hybrid plant has the potential to take the world by storm as a clean source of energy with zero emissions– and it can produce up to 33,000 liters of oil, 30 times the yield from palm oil.
With pollution from burning fossil fuels causing major concerns globally, many environmental activists have been advocating the use of cleaner fuels, whether it’s LNG, solar energy or biofuels.Some have immersed themselves in research in hopes of discovering a replacement for fossil fuels.
Dato’ Sri Tan Hoe Beng is one such environmentalist. Based in Kuantan, Pahang in Malaysia, he managed to develop a hybrid biofuel plant that can produce up to 30 times more oil per acre than palm oil. Unlike palm oil, of which five percent is mixed with 95 percent fossil fuel before it can be used, this plant, which he named the X Fruit, does not need to be blended with fossil fuels, and can be used all by itself.
Launched at the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW), a video at the X Fruit exhibition booth showed the nut at the heart of the fruit being burnt for several minutes.
“You can even use it for barbeque, for everyday use,” says Dato’ Sri Tan.
Not only does the X Fruit have aromatic qualities that make it suitable for the production of essential oils for skin care and cosmetics, but it is also edible, with high levels of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.
But most importantly, the oil produced can be used as a fuel for transport.
“I hope this can create a solution to climate change and the energy crisis we are facing now,” says Dato’ Sri Tan, who has worked on this fruit for nearly a decade.
He went on to explain how he was greatly motivated by the need to develop a clean source of fuel. “Climate change is something that affects all of us,” he says. “And I hope this is something that can have a global impact, [and] actually significantly reduce carbon emissions.”
To confirm the qualities of the fruit, Dato’ Sri brought it to Singapore for testing. An analysis of the X Fruit carried out by Dr. Vitali Lipik at the Nanyang Technological University showed that it contains proteins, hydrocarbons, aromatic and poly-aromatic compounds, and does not contain inorganic components and phosphorus, which makes it ideal to be used as a fuel.
Its 60 percent oil content (palm oil has 20 percent oil content) is also thought to be higher than any other oil bearing fruit or nut. The yield of this fruit is also 10 times that of the fruit of oil palms, at 50 metric tonnes of fruit per year.
The fruit is also found to have a very high calorific value, more than 30 megajoules per kilogram, which is higher than the best coal in the world, according to Dato’ Sri Tan.
He is getting more tests done by a university research center in China as well asa leading energy researcher based in Singapore, Dr. Jeff Obbard.
Throughout his 10 years of working on the fruit, Dato’ Sri Tan has ensured its perfection.
Initially, the tree was four stories high, which posed a practical problem for fruit collection. He then modified it such that it is now much shorter.
Growing the tree is also not much of an issue.“It can grow in land that’s not very fertile,” admits Dato’ Sri Tan. “It’s only during the sapling stage that tender care needs to be given to the plant.” He adds that he has nurseries to ensure that the plants grow in optimal conditions.
The businessman has done his best to ensure that the X Fruit is up to international environmental and sustainability standards by enlisting the help of sustainability consultant Ken Hickson of Sustain Ability Showcase Asia (SASA). Hickson is also the author of such books as ‘The ABC of Carbon’ and ‘Race for Sustainability’.
Currently, he reveals that there are keen investors, some of whom are even governments, but he refuses to name anyone. “At this stage, nothing is confirmed yet, so we can’t announce anything officially,” he says.
Report prepared by Candice