Young (typically green) coconuts are used for the production of coconut water. After obtaining the water, the green skin, moist white husk and shells remain as waste residues. At over 9M tonnes per year globally, the residues are a major environmental issue and a significantly under-exploited commercial opportunity.
Most of the residues of coconut water production are presently used for low-value products such as ground covering or mulch. White coir from the husks can be made into textiles, rope and fiber products – but these are also relatively low value applications and entail production processes that are slow, labor-intensive and polluting.
This RFI seeks new high-value uses of waste residues from coconut water production, and/or new discoveries of high-value components therein. It also seeks improved processes or equipment to provide better yields of valuable by-products. Ideally, inventions are retrofittable to current industry plants and practices. They should provide additional income to coconut water manufacturers and/or reduce waste treatment costs and environmental impact.
The coconut tree Cocos nucifera is a member of the palm or Arecaceae family native to tropical coasts. Most parts of the tree – fruit, flowers, leaves and trunk – are traditionally used by local populations as food or to make utensils and furniture. Rather than a true nut, it is a drupe: a thin-skinned fleshy fruit with a central stone containing a seed – similar to a plum, almond or olive. Its fruit is large and oval, weighing over a kilogram on maturity.
The flesh, water and shell of a coconut combined comprise about 65% of the fruit’s weight while the husk constitutes about 35%. Separately, its water is estimated to be between 14-26% of the over weight of it, depending on variety and age. A single tree may yield 70 to 100 of them per year. Young ones typically have a green, yellow or orange skin, white husk and flexible shell which contains a thin walled gelatinous meat and a liquid endosperm known commercially as “coconut water”. After about 6 months on the tree, the young coconuts may be harvested for their coconut water. It’s water has been successfully established in domestic and international markets as a sports or health drink. (read more)
This opportunity comes from the efforts of Xinova’s R&D Consulting and Innovation team.
Are you up for the challenge?
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