Direct Micro Expelling uses a totally different approach to coconut compared to that of the copra industry. With DME® we take (small-scale) processing to the nuts rather than taking the nuts (in debased form) to a (large-scale) processing plant located in another country. The outcome is that DME® produces a virgin coconut oil (VCO) of vastly superior quality copra oil (CNO).
“Direct Micro Expelling” is highly descriptive of the technology. It is:
- Direct — quick (oil produced within 1 hour of opening the nut) and efficient (Its oil extraction efficiency or OEE is 85% of the available oil).
- Micro — small scale (family farm size).
- Expelling — extraction of virgin oil and meal
The DME® Process concentrates on a small, manageable, daily throughput of up to 1,000 nuts. It is a “dry-process” using its shells as fuel. Whereas exactly the same resource made into copra takes a week to make and pack and then take many weeks to ship and process in large overseas oil mills.
The gender-neutral DME® process depends upon simple, easily learned skills, rather than sophisticated equipment. Families really enjoy working together on DME® VCO production, whereas they typically describe the male-dominated making of copra as a form of slavery.
DME® gives regular meaningful employment to teams of 3 to 5 women and/or men of all ages. A team can work on the process more-or-less whenever it suits them — whether it be 2 hours a day on 2 days per week or 8 hours a day for 6 days a week — it could even be operated on a shift basis all day and all night. Production can take place all year round and in virtually any weather.
It gives direct local employment in rural areas in nut collection and oil production, and it has multiplier income- and employment-effects. Where the oil is packaged locally or used as an input by local cosmetic, soap and detergent producers there is significant value added. Also, the residue goes for baking and livestock.
In general, the gross return from the DME® process is about 5 times, and the net return is about 8 times that of copra.
Average daily production is typically 20 to 60 litres (depending on the number of hours worked by a team), with skilled operators obtaining an oil extraction efficiency (OEE) of over 85% (of available oil). The number of nuts needed to produce one litre of oil depends on the size of the nuts. The range is between 9 and 18 nuts per litre.
The DME® process is made fully sustainable by using coconut shell as the fuel for the drier. It does not need wood from local forest resources or non-renewable fossil fuels.
Besides its uses as a cooking oil, or for skin moisturising and massage, virgin coconut oil is a good lamp fuel and, of all the vegetable oils, it is the best direct substitute for diesel-engine fuel.
After DME® coconut oil is extracted, the residual meal is a highly nutritious de-fatted grated-coconut with many potential uses. It has a high protein and dietary fibre content and can be ground into flavoursome gluten-free flour. It is excellent for baking biscuits and cakes and as stock feed.
The DME® equipment can also produce thick coconut cream for local domestic use.
The DME® technology is indeed “Empowering”.