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  • The country is looking to produce its own bio-fuel and increase the current mix of ethanol in petrol to about 20 per cent.
  • This is according to Principal Director, Policy, Planning, Development and Evaluation Division, in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Dr. Oral Rainford.
  • A 10 per cent ethanol mix in fuel was implemented in Jamaica in 2008. This ethanol, which is produced from cane sugar and molasses, is mainly imported from Brazil.

The country is looking to produce its own bio-fuel and increase the current mix of ethanol in petrol to about 20 per cent.

This is according to Principal Director, Policy, Planning, Development and Evaluation Division, in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Dr. Oral Rainford, who said this “is something that we are giving serious consideration.”

He was speaking at the opening of the workshop on the Life Cycle Sustainable Assessment and Global Bio Energy Partnership (GBEP) Indicators for Sustainable Biofuels in Jamaica, at the Kingston offices of the Jamaica Employers Federation (JEF), today (July 6).

A 10 per cent ethanol mix in fuel was implemented in Jamaica in 2008. This ethanol, which is produced from cane sugar and molasses, is mainly imported from Brazil.

Mr. Rainford is adamant, however, that “we’ve got to begin doing more for ourselves,” in terms of producing biofuels locally, starting with the mix currently being used.

“Significantly, we want to develop the fleet stock to provide that 10 per cent because as it is, we have been importing that 10 per cent from Brazil, and to an extent, some has come from the United States (US),” he said.

Mr. Rainford said this goal is especially important as the Government has set a target of achieving 30 per cent of its energy supply from renewable sources by the year 2030.

The Principal Director noted that this plan to produce bio-fuel in Jamaica is being partly hampered by the unwillingness of industry players to venture into this production.

“We have been trying to have those entities involved in sugar manufacturing begin to switch from the production of rum and sugar, but that is a yeoman’s task. Being that those products are more profitable, the owners and operators of the sugar refineries are very hesitant to move into the direction that we wish,” he said.

Another setback, he noted, is the lack of adequate arable land for the production of the raw material, as there is a “contest” for such lands with more profitable crops.

Mr. Rainford noted however, that the Government is working to bring back into production, lands that have remained uncultivated for many years, and “begin developing the fleet stock which we will use in our bio-energy project as we go forward.”

He further expressed optimism that the series of workshops will culminate in the country being able to produce most, if not all, of the fuel (specifically bio-fuel) that it needs.

This is the second workshop being held as part of the implementation of a trilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Brazil, Jamaica and the United States, for the advancement and co-operation on bio-fuels development.

The four-day workshop seeks to provide technical training in a Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment tool, which is software designed to help decision-makers in the public and private sectors advance the production of biofuels locally.

It aims to provide best practices and information on the production of bio-fuels in a sustainable manner, according to the local conditions in Jamaica.

The event is a partnership among the Organization of American States (OAS); the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining; and the Centre for Life Cycle Assessment and Sustainable Design (CADIS).

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