Conkernol is A project that uses conkers (or horse chestnuts) as a raw material, proposing a community lead system for the harvesting and processing of conkers into biofuel.
Horse Chestnuts are a high-starch resource that grows in moderate climates all over the world in Europe, Asia and the US but it is not commercially utilised for any purpose. In the past we have called on conkers in times of need, during both WWI and WWII children were tasked with collecting the seeds, which were then used in the production of cordite (gunpowder).
However, currently this tree is an untapped resource that we may lose to disease if action is not taken in the next 5-10 years, so finding a reason to save it is imperative.
Letting this tree die out would mean losing the heritage going back 500 years as well as changing the landscape of almost every city in Britain, as well as losing the potential resource that is the Conker.
Hundreds of tonnes of conkers fall to the ground every year in the UK, if we were to collect these and treat them to a fermentation and distillation process we could provide an alternative source of biofuel (ethanol) for communities who want to re-connect with nature and create energy security by partially stepping outside of the ‘the grid’.
Biofuel from the conkers was used to power a chainsaw effectively for 5 seconds (see video below).
Made with help from Clissold Park Rangers.