JIS News

Petrojam Limited on Monday (May 1) launched its six-month pilot project geared at determining the performance of a cross-section of motor vehicles with the ethanol blend.
Ethanol, an oxygenate blended with gasoline in a mixture of 10 per cent ethanol to 90 per cent gasoline, is an octane enhancer to boost engine performance.
Minister of Industry, Commerce, Science and Technology (with Energy), Phillip Paulwell, who addressed the launch of the pilot project at the refinery, explained that the six-month pilot was a precursor to the full roll out of the ethanol blend into the market. “We want to ensure that this project is successful because come next year, the government will be declaring the abolition of the use of MTBE as an octane enhancer,” the Minister declared.
Preliminary studies reveal that Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether or MTBE, the octane enhancer produced from petroleum, which is used in fuels for the transportation sector, is detrimental to the environment, both as a contaminant of ground water and a pollutant of the air from emissions.
Minister Paulwell said it was important for Jamaica to “move quickly to the ethanol blended fuels,” as the initiative provided several benefits including the reduction of the country’s petroleum foreign exchange bill by using locally grown feedstock from sugarcane, facilitation of the development of the local sugar industry, fuel diversification for energy security, and environmental benefits through cleaner tailpipe emissions.
Manager for Safety and Environment at Petrojam, Leon Jarrett informed that 70 vehicles, representing the range of transportation on Jamaica’s roads, would be used in the pilot project. The vehicles will range from 1990 to 2006 models and will represent 12 manufacturers.
Mr. Jarrett further outlined that the volunteer vehicle owners, who were from the Commerce Ministry and the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, would be required to maintain records and use only fuel supplied from the designated pumps at the refinery.He explained that periodic inspection and assessment of vehicles would be carried out by the manufacturers throughout the pilot period.
The data collected from the pilot project will be reviewed and a comprehensive report issued at the end of the pilot project on December 31, 2006.