There is a potentially big market for
bio-diesel in Barbados and from 2006, one secondary school will be
embarking on an initiative to help satisfy that growing demand.
According to volunteer with Counterpart Caribbean,
Handel Callender, a partnership
between Counterpart Caribbean, the United National Development Programme
(UNDP) and the Lester Vaughan
Secondary School has been forged and the project is set to get
under way next month.
Callender told the Barbados Advocate that the students
are being encouraged to keep and collect from their neighbours and
possibly nearby restaurants used vegetable oil and sell it to his
company, Native Sun NRG, which is undertaking the production of the
We are starting with a small group. The plan is to
have 30 students originally from the school s environmental club and
each of those 30 will approach directly or indirectly nine other students
and from that you get your pool of 300, he said.
As far as I can tell and this is based on the
amount of Soya beans we import and press into vegetable oil, there
is about four million litres made in Barbados a year. Of course
not all of that remains here, we export vegetable oil as well. In
2003 as far as I can estimate, 97 million litres of petroleum diesel
was used, there is no way I can ever supply that type of demand,
but definitely the demand is there, he added.
Callender explained that each of those students
will collect 1.25 litres of vegetable oil per week, providing him
with a total of 375 litres of used oil on a weekly basis. Noting
that it is a mutually beneficial relationship with the school, he
added that initially he will pay the school ten cents for every
litre of oil.
He indicated that the funds raised by
the school would provide the school's environmental club with an income
to undertake projects aimed at facilitating a more environmentally
friendly attitude at the school. In addition, he stated that the environmental
club becomes a business in their own right, where they will have a
board of directors within the club, responsible for the sale of the
used oil and the purchase of any tools and educational materials.
Callender pointed out that once the project gets
off the ground, they intend to expand it to the wider school body
and then branch out to other schools, and not just with respect to
the recycling of vegetable oil, but with the traditional plastic and
paper products as well.
Likewise, the entrepreneur explained, the project
also has the potential to reduce the large amounts of vegetable oil
that restaurants haul off to the dump at Lonesome Hill, St. Peter.
According to him, any machine that uses diesel can
use bio-diesel, which is not only non-toxic, biodegradable and reduces
carbon dioxide, but has the potential to contribute to the saving
of foreign exchange used to buy the traditional petroleum diesel,
the price of which is continually rising.
We are hoping to demonstrate to corporate Barbados that we need
more companies who are willing to take the waste that Barbadians
generate and turn it into a valuable resource or product.
With respect to the bio-diesel, Callender added
that his intention is to focus on niche markets one such market
he said is the fishing industry, given the severe effect petroleum
diesel can have on the marine ecosystem and our reefs.
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