Oiling the way forward Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
April 6, 2007

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IT’S not the kind of story that would grab a page one headline in newspapers or feature on prime time TV.

But Guyana yesterday formally took a little step forward that could mean bigger things.

It was the signing by Agri Solutions Technologies Inc, a local and newly-incorporated fuel manufacturing consortium, of an agreement to manufacture and supply bio diesel to the administration of Region One (Barima/Waini) at a price which does not exceed the price of fossil fuel previously used by the administration.

Initially, officials said, the plant will be producing 200 barrels of the fuel per month and output is expected to increase later.

As production continues apace, the company said it plans to bring in additional oil palm plants from Costa Rica and Malaysia to expand its programme.

A contract for the supply of the fuel, to be produced from palm oil at the Wauna Oil Palm Estate, was signed between Agri Solutions Technologies Inc. and the Ministry of Local Government.

Bio diesel is the name of a clean burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources.

Bio diesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a bio diesel blend. It can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with little or no modifications.

Bio diesel is simple to use, biodegradable, non toxic, and essentially free of sulphur and aromatics.

These are the qualities of bio diesel -- with all the threats to climate change from global warming -- that are of more than passing significance.

At the signing yesterday, Mr. Suresh Narine, of the Institute of Applied Science and Technology, said when a project such as this comes to fruition “one cannot help feeling elated”.

It, he said, represents a coming of age and is a model for the future of the country revolving on the use of appropriate technology.

Its attraction also includes the crucial employment generation aspect with a promise of more jobs for people living in the region.

Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud, equally elated about this big first for Guyana, considers it a “win-win” situation for everyone in the country, noting that the development of a project of this nature on a commercial basis, reflects well, and takes the work of IAST to another level.

He said a ready market for the product will be assured, adding that employment will also be guaranteed for many persons left unemployed after the palm oil company, NEOCOL, ceased operations at Wauna.

The minister saw it as a good project from which all Guyana could benefit, and hoped the example set here by IAST will inspire other agencies, such as the Hope coconut estate on the East Coast Demerara, to take the initiative.

We commend all those involved in bringing this project to fruition and hope it bears fruit in many other parts of the country.