Dr Legena Henry described the potential benefits of Sargassum seaweed to Barbados’ tourism and transportation industries, as the small-island nation aims to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030.
Speaking at a workshop to coordinate ongoing research on the potential benefits of processing Sargassum seaweed, Dr Henry covered several key points regarding the seaweed-based biofuel solution being explored by the Rum and Sargassum project:
- The project aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
- It is a relevant solution for vehicular transportation as Barbados is preparing to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030.
- It is a relevant solution for the tourism industry, since less Sargassum seaweed in the ocean means less on Barbados’ beautiful beaches.
- The biomethane produced by Rum & Sargassum can cheaply and easily power internal combustion engine vehicles converted for compressed natural gas (CNG).
- The biofuel production process involves anaerobic digestion, which requires water. Since Barbados is water scarce, wastewater from Barbados’ rum distilleries can be used.
- Sugar cane and Sargassum seaweed are both potential biofuel crops. But Barbados’ sugar cane industry is declining, while the influx of massive amounts of Sargassum is here to stay and produces more than enough biomass for biofuel production.
The workshop was hosted by The University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus in Barbados in June 2021.