Alternative energy the way to go
With a national fuel import bill of more than $800 million, a government minister is suggesting that alternative and renewable fuel sources are the way to go.
Minister of Industry and Small Business, Donville Inniss, speaking at the end of a tour of Paradise Green Energy Inc.,
in Green Hill, revealed that more than 40 per cent of what was imported, was going towards vehicle and heavy machinery operations.
“We talk a lot of about our light bills, we don’t talk a lot about what we pay at the pump for fuel. I am happy to note that there are some entrepreneurs in this country who are prepared to find that alternative source for example, diesel, in particular, low sulfur diesel.
“Every little bit counts, every drop is important to us. The fact that you have an enterprise here that is taken a product that otherwise would have been dumped thereby creating an environmental problem for us, and making it into a product that can be reused is indeed commendable,” the minister said.
He described the sector as one, which held tremendous opportunity for job creation and job sustainability, noting that this was something which government “held dearly.”
“There are many good things happening in Barbados which are often highlighted [but] we tend to focus on the negative. Companies like PGE are making a difference in society. They are helping us to save on foreign exchange, they’re creating and maintaining jobs and are providing a viable, more sustainable alternative,” Inniss reiterated.
Managing Director of Paradise Green Energy, Joseph Del Castilho, speaking to Barbados TODAY, explained that the company had plans of expanding its enterprises but was being met with some challenges.
“Ninety five per cent of our customers are ordinary consumers. We now have one business that is going through a testing phase with their vehicles and they are very keen on using the biodiesel, that is one of the reason we really want to get the petroleum product that we can blend, as there is a very limited quantity of biodiesel we can get from the oil that we can collect,” he said.
The businessman explained that out of the Green Hill facility, they were collecting about 20 tonnes of used oil a month, which produced a yield of about 95 per cent of that total volume.
“We are expanding slowly and this is based on the availability of the used vegetable oil. So right now, we can handle the volumes that we are bringing in, but we are also looking for another location to expand to. We would [also] like to be able to blend our biodiesel with the petroleum diesel so we can offer to businesses with fleet vehicles, [and which] would like to use biodiesel as an alternative renewable fuel. [Presently], it is difficult to provide 100 per cent biodiesel for fleet vehicles, so what we are trying to do is blend with petroleum at about a 20:30 percent ratio; then we will be able to supply them,” Del Castilho said, revealing that they had already made an application to government for the necessary permissions.
For his part, Minister Inniss has given the company government’s commitment and support noting that he would do all in his power to bring a “favourable conclusion to the matter”.
“Today we heard the call for this facility to be allowed to purchase diesel which they can mix in their products to give customers an option…. I don’t believe that enterprises like these should be waiting two and three years to get a response or decision from any government department on any matter. Time is of the essence and we can’t delay on these matters,” Inniss said.