The Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC) held the opening ceremony on Tuesday, November 26, 2013 for their Biofuel Demonstration Project. Partnering with the Grand Bahama Port Authority, The Grand Bahama Development Company and the Garden of the Groves, the project focuses on the feasibility of cultivating a specific type of plant, Jatropha Curcas, the seeds of which can be crushed to produce a vegetable oil that in turn can be used to make biodiesel fuel that would be burned in the GBPC facilities to make electricity.
In his remarks at Tuesday’s ceremony, Chris Huskilson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Emera Inc., highlighted the significance of the biofuel demonstration project to Emera’s long term plans for GBPC. “In the long-term, Emera is actively working on renewable and alternative energy solutions to decrease our dependency on fossil fuel and address the cost of power for island residents. Our on-going efforts to bring compressed natural gas to this island and this bio-fuel project are two examples of possible future generation sources.”
Huskilson also expressed his excitement about the project’s potential for the island of Grand Bahama. “The development of a Biofuel industry in Grand Bahama has the potential to be a transformational technology, which could be expanded throughout the Family Islands. If determined to be viable and developed to its full potential, this industry can grow into a significant economic driver for Grand Bahama and the country.”
Dan Muldoon, Vice President of Emera Utility Services Bahamas, explained that the Jatropha curcas’ resistance to drought and pests, and its ability to produce seeds that contain 30-40% oil, makes it a leading candidate for biodiesel production. “We believe that the subtropical climate that the Bahamas has been blessed with gives us a competitive edge to producing biofuels when it comes to several particular species of plants,” commented Muldoon. “Despite the challenges that will undoubtedly be faced in this endeavor we feel strongly that this is a viable and ultimately beneficial industry for farmers here in the Bahamas.”