Last update: 06-Dec-2013 12:31 am
Friday, December 06, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Guyana commissions new bio-ethanol plant
GEORGETOWN—Guyana has commissioned its first ever bio-ethanol plant as it moves to develop a renewable energy sector in the country. The plant, located at the Albion Estate on the Corentyne Coast, will produce ethanol to a quantity of 1000 litres daily from “blackstrap” molasses, the final output from the sugar production
Technicians have assured however, that only one fraction of the molasses will be used and that the best technology is being applied to produce anhydrous ethanol at a minimum strength of 99.6 per cent or greater. President Donald Ramotar, who was joined by senior government ministers and other stakeholders, said the plant is a vindication of the government’s vision for the sugar industry to be more than just a raw producer.
“Fundamentally it (sugar industry) has remained a producer of raw sugar, but it has enormous potentials that we can produce many other things from the sugar industry; one of it is fuel,” Ramotar said, adding that with cheap energy among the benefits to be derived from ethanol, Guyana needed to take full advantage of its renewable energy sources.
He said there were several countries in the Caribbean and South America that were developing because of investment in cheap energy and again made reference to the ongoing controversy surrounding the Amaila Falls Hydro Power Project (AFHP) here.
The opposition party, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) voted against the Hydro Electric Power (Amendment) Bill and debt ceiling motion while another opposition party, the Alliance For Change (AFC) supported the bill, but reduced the debt ceiling from GUY$130 billion to GUY$50 billion (One Guyana dollar = US$0.01 cents). The opposition’s actions lead to the US-based investor Sithe Global pulling out of the project, citing a lack of political unity.
A government statement said that Brazil-based Green Social Biorefineries and the UK-based WhiteFox Technologies Ltd are partners in the establishment of the ethanol plant following an initiative in 2007 to craft an Agro Energy Policy for the country. “A subsequent signing of a Technical Cooperation “Expanding Bioenergy Opportunities in Guyana” between the Guyana Government and the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) paved the way for the development of the small scale Bioenergy Demonstration Project,” it added.
Ramotar said that the project came also at a time when Guyana and other African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries were dealing with the decision by the European Union to slash its preferential price for sugar which impacted negatively on the country’s sugar industry and long-term economic growth.
“We were fighting to maintain the price (for sugar) and at the same time we were anticipating that should we lose that fight with the rest of the ACP countries, we should put ourselves in order so that we will be able to survive,” President Ramotar said. Agriculture Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy said the Albion plant joins the list of several bio-ethanol initiatives and that at least two investors will be in Guyana to work on feasibility studies for the production of bio-fuel.
“It is time for Guyana to see the possibilities... for hydro electricity if we are going to address the energy insecurity that nations face, if we are going to ensure that people get access to affordable reliable energy... hydro must be accomplished now,” he added.
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