Proman, UWI launch waste-to-energy research project

 Photo courtesy Prof John Agard -
Photo courtesy Prof John Agard -

PROMAN and UWI have launched a new study to examine the potential of a biogas supply chain for TT.

The study, they said, is in line with national decarbonisation and waste-reduction efforts.

The multi-phase project will identify viable local sources of waste for an anaerobic digestion project and examine how these technologies and resources can be integrated into TT's wider energy supply chain.

Anaerobic digestion is a process in which organic wastes are broken down by micro-organisms in an oxygen-free environment. The waste is converted to biogas, a sustainable alternative to natural gas, and digestate, which can be used as a fertiliser.

In doing so, this process reduces greenhouse gas emissions, by recycling waste that would otherwise go to landfill and converting it into a sustainable alternative energy source.

This study will analyse the viability of various local waste options for this process, including agricultural by-products such as poultry waste and manure; food waste; waste water; and sargassum (seaweed).

In a statement, Proman said the announcement builds on its longstanding support for the UWI and its students.

Managing director of Proman Trinidad Claus Cronberger said, "By bringing together the university’s academic expertise with Proman’s industry experience, we hope to develop new and practical avenues towards more sustainable energy."

He said such innovative projects would be crucial in lowering the country's carbon emiussions, in line with the five-year-old Paris Accord.

He added, "We look forward to sharing our findings and collaborating further on potential waste-to-energy projects in TT, which have significant potential to generate investment and skilled employment opportunities as part of our national post-covid recovery.”

Prof John Agard, director of the St. Augustine Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, said, "This work provides new scope and direction on developing and informing innovative sustainable initiatives within the current downstream sector through a resource-circular value chain."

He said the project not only has significant and direct relevance to the national, regional and international climate change mitigation strategies, but also promotes UWI’s Triple-A strategy, which augments greater alignment between industry, public service and academic excellence in research and development.

Proman said it is committed to supporting TT's lower-carbon agenda and strengthening the pathway towards sustainable methanol and ammonia.

In 2019, with partners GP Energy and Enerkem Inc, Proman submitted a bid to the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries’ request for proposal for a waste utilisation project designed to use 2,250 tons per day of municipal solid waste from the Beetham, Foress Park and Guanpo landfills.

The project proposes to establish a more cost-effective alternative to waste incineration and would establish Caricom's first waste bio-refinery. Proman said it has the potential to produce up to 200,000 tonnes of sustainable methanol per year while leveraging its existing Point Lisas Estate methanol production facilities, operations, storage and logistics network for export sales to premium European Union markets.


"Proman, UWI launch waste-to-energy research project"

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