In January 2017, The Caribbean Council and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) completed and published a Technical and Economic Feasibility Study on using Sargassum seaweed for Anaerobic Digestion- a low cost waste-to-energy process widely used in Europe and the US for organic material. Covering St Lucia and Grenada, the study was funded by the UK FCO Prosperity Fund and can be accessed in full using the link on the right-hand side of this page.
Recognising that small island developing states in the Caribbean face serious challenges relating to 1) waste management; 2) sewage treatment and; 3) sustainable energy production, Anaerobic Digestion technology can provide real benefits across all three areas of concern. The study found that the technology could also provide a waste treatment solution for beached Sargassum seaweed, a growing problem throughout the region which threatens tourism, commercial fishing and shipping.
While Anaerobic Digestion offers a unique, circular and integrated solution to these challenges, the technology is not currently widely deployed in the Caribbean by governments, or the private sector. This study underlines the opportunities for regional stakeholders to address these issues in a cost-effective, controlled and sustainable manner. In addition, preliminary economic modelling suggests that the adoption of anaerobic digestion technology could deliver positive returns on investment, while also generating renewable energy in the forms of electricity, heat and biomethane gas for fuel.
To promote the study, The Caribbean Council and the CPI hosted a Webinar Presentation on 25 January 2017. A recording of the Webinar can be accessed via Vimeo, using the password “Sargassum” (case sensitive).
The Caribbean Council would be happy to speak with government and private sector stakeholders in more detail regarding the study, as well as the possibility of conducting further feasibility studies with a view to implementing Anaerobic Digestion solutions in the Caribbean.
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Photo: rjsinenomine, Flickr