Henry to speak at UNIDO Global Cleantech Innovation Program in November

Rum and Sargassum CEO to speak at UNIDO GCIP Cleantech Days 2023 in Vienna, Austria.

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Dr. Legena Henry, CEO and Founder of Rum and Sargassum Inc., will speak at the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme (GCIP) Cleantech Days 2023, organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), from October 30 to November 3, in Vienna, Austria. 

Rum and Sargassum Inc. is a Barbados-based startup that aims to produce fossil-fuel free compressed natural gas through the anaerobic co-digestion of low-cost, locally sourced organic inputs including rum industry wastewater, Sargassum seaweed and Barbados Blackbelly sheep manure. 

Facing the realities of climate change and skyrocketing gas prices, Barbados has committed to become fossil-fuel free by 2030. Some 103,000 metric tons of CO₂ emissions per year could be removed from the atmosphere by drivers in Barbados switching to the company’s bio-CNG.

“We propose to provide a low-cost transportation fuel for sixty per cent of road traffic in Barbados,” Henry said. 

“After an affordable one-time 4-hour CNG conversion, drivers can drive to a biofuel service station and fill up their tanks with the clean energy in just three minutes, at half the current cost. The solution directly addresses the national energy security concern of Barbadians paying high prices for imported fossil fuels,” she added.

Drivers are not the only beneficiaries. The livelihoods of Caribbean coastal communities are threatened by massive offshore buildup and shoreline deposits from the 5000-mile wide Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt. Rum & Sargassum Inc. is patterning a solution by using Sargassum seaweed removed from deep water areas of the Barbados exclusive economic zone at road-traffic scale, before it beaches.

Henry will also attend the International Vienna Energy and Climate Forum (IVECF), the UNIDO flagship high-level event, on November 2 to 3. 

“I look forward to interacting with the Austrian cleantech ecosystem, sharing knowledge with industry experts and thought leaders, and highlighting Rum and Sargassum Inc.’s initial successes alongside other clean technology start-ups from partner countries and the other UNIDO-led projects focused on climate solutions,” Henry said.

Since 2018, the UNIDO, with funding from the Global Environment Facility, has been implementing a project to promote sustainable energy technology innovation, industrial development and entrepreneurship in Barbados. The project established Barbados’ BLOOM Cleantech Cluster, which contributes to the government’s efforts to tackle the severe impacts of COVID-19 and the growing costs of climate change adaptation. Rum and Sargassum Inc. became a member of that cluster earlier in January.

In March, Rum & Sargassum Inc. was competitively selected to receive a €300,000 research grant from the Harnessing Innovative Technologies to Support Resilient Settlements on the Coastal Zones of the Caribbean (HIT RESET) project, toward implementation of a mobile app to help predict Sargassum seaweed biomass influx patterns, and the establishment of a pilot biogas refuelling station.

HIT RESET Caribbean is funded by the ACP Innovation Fund and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States’ Research and Innovation Programme, with the financial contribution of the European Union. The funding aims to help government entities, coastal development agencies and coastal communities by giving them the tools to be better prepared for climate change and less likely to be harmed by it.

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