Biofuels, such as biodiesel and bioethanol, are widely derived from biomass (plants and other organic waste) and provide an attractive alternative to fossil fuels.
These fuels have many different applications. In rural areas they can power mechanised milling or small scale electrification systems. In the cities, biofuels are especially used in the transport sector adding to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
GVEP is supporting many forms of biofuel initiatives in Africa and the Caribbean.
In St.Lucia, a small enterprise has received funding to set up a power plant, which will use banana waste to produce methane via biodigesters. The methane will power the plant itself and also be used to produce ethanol. In addition, the ethanol will be sold to the transport industry and blended with the petrol imported to the island thereby increasing the island’s energy security.
Biofuel from banana waste in the Caribbean
A new power plant in the Caribbean island of St Lucia, will use banana waste to produce methane via biodigesters. The methane will power the plant itself and also be used to produce ethanol.
Banana exportation is one of St Lucia’s largest industries and the island is home to three international banana companies. This project will use their waste to create power. This will not only be sold as ethanol to the transport industry, it will also be able to power the plant itself – making running costs very low.
Ken Aldonza, the Mechanical Engineer who leads the company, will use a new four-stage fermentation process that is much more productive and cost effective than traditional batch processes. His business will enable local banana farmers to generate new income by selling their waste and by using biodigester waste as organic fertiliser. Besides, the resulting crops will also have a higher market value than non-organic produce.
The factory will make money by selling ethanol to the transport industry and the wider environment will benefit from the resulting use of cleaner fuel.
Many Caribbean islands produce bananas and other sugar-rich crops. The processes and equipment needed to open further plants there will be the same – meaning the project could have far reaching benefits.
This project thanks to a grant awarded by the 2009 IDEAS Energy Innovation Contest
. The contest, jointly sponsored by GVEP, GIZ, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Korean Government aimed at improving energy efficiency and expanding access to renewable energy in the region.