The United Kingdom-based Whitefox Technologies, together with its partner Green, have secured a bioethanol contract with the Guyanese Government. Whitefox said it is working together with the Brazilian company, Green, to install the units for a bioethanol demonstration plant at the Guyana Sugar Corporation (Guysuco) Albion Sugar Factory, and will be delivering a turnkey unit early next year.
By using membrane technology, Guysuco is ensuring that this new ethanol industry is built with production efficiency as a cornerstone of future development, Whitefox says.
After being completely reliant on imported oil as a key source of energy, the Government of Guyana, through its Agriculture Sector Development Unit (ASDU) is turning to bioethanol as a source of fuel.
The project is supported by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). As part of the development of its Climate Change Strategy the IDB has identified sustainable biofuels as a priority area. After detailed studies it was concluded that locally produced biofuels could have a positive impact in Guyana. Whitefox Technologies will provide the dehydration technology for the first small scale bioethanol facility in Guyana.
Gillian Harrison, CEO of Whitefox Technologies said “We are very proud to be playing a role in the development of the ethanol industry in Guyana. We see the potential for countries like Guyana to use locally produced resources to produce ethanol and electricity, which we expect to have a positive impact on development and improvements in the local economy”.
Guyana is the largest country of the Caribbean Community and is well-suited for bioenergy production given its abundance of sun, water, and available land. The feedstock for bioethanol production in Guyana will initially be molasses (from sugar cane), but other bioenergy feedstock will be explored.
Bioethanol can be mixed with gasoline to create a blended fuel, offering the chance to significantly reduce its reliance on oil imports and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Sugar cane is one of Guyana’s main commodities, responsible for approximately 20% of their annual revenue and 40% of all agricultural production. It is seen as a positive move to use this resource and the local agricultural expertise in growing sugar cane, to produce liquid fuel (in the form of bioethanol) and bioelectricity (through using the waste bagasse from the cane). Utilising this resource for bioenergy production will help improve Guyana’s balance of payments and enable it to become more self-reliant. The objective is to move towards a 10% blend of bioethanol to gasoline (E10).
This project will help kick start a bioethanol industry that will help rural communities through the investment in crops, create jobs, as well as help Guyana become more self-sufficient in their fuel needs, Whitefox added.