Ethanol Blended Fuel to Become Available by Year-End


By the end of this year, ethanol blended fuel will be available in service stations for the motoring public.
“As a first step we will replace 10 per cent gasoline with ethanol (E-10). Jamaica is not the first country (to do this) and if anything we have waited too long,” Minister of Energy, Clive Mullings, said during his contribution to the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives yesterday (July 1).
Mr. Mullings stated that since October of last year a team from the Ministry has been having discussions with the marketing companies and other stakeholders in relation in having E-10 roll out.
“One constraint is appropriate storage facilities in the western region of the island, but the nature of the challenge is such that we must respond now. We have committed $300 million to this project and equipment has already been ordered and the construction of the storage facility will commence shortly,” the Minister said.
He added it is expected that this facility will be completed by year end and the Government will be mandating the islandwide usage of E-10 effectiveApril 2009.
In the interim E-10 will be introduced on a phased basis beginning in the Corporate area and the parishes of Clarendon, St. Catherine, St. Thomas and Portland. Mr Mullings also informed that, the Government will ensure that the E-10 blend is used in all government vehicles.
Approximately 4.5 million gallons of gasoline is used on an annual basis therefore a 10 per cent substitution will be significant, he said.
“It is important for us to understand that E-10 is fully compatible with the existing gasoline blends and motor vehicles in the island. The equipment that we have ordered will allow us to provide up to E-85 ethanol. The constraint we have is that we do not have enough holding stock to take it and of course we would have to put in another pump. So it is not that we are unable to provide that facility but logistically we have to wait for the fleet to catch up,” Mr. Mullings said.
A public education campaign will also be launched shortly to provide more information on the project.
In addition, the Energy Minister informed that sugar cane in Jamaica will be used not only to produce sugar but also ethanol on a commercial scale, and the bagasse and other by-products to generate electricity.
He noted that ethanol from sugarcane will provide local fuel for transportation and power generation; assist in developing the bio fuels sector, which will create employment opportunities for hundred of Jamaicans; and to reduce the outflow of foreign exchange to pay for imported fuel generated, therefore generating additional revenue.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mullings informed that the Government has concluded the agreement for the sale of 49 per cent shares of the Petrojam refinery to the government of Venezuela.
“This essentially allows for the expansion of capacity from 35,000 to 50,000 barrels per day and also to process heavier crude. Additionally petcoke, a by-product of this process will be used as a fuel for power generation,” the Minister said.
There is also a joint Jamaican and Venezuelan engineering team working with Canadian consultants to complete the engineering design by January of next year. “Thereafter we will speedily complete this project,” Mr. Mullings said.

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