Jamaica: Broilers ethanol plant up, running


Fills 3.2 million-gallon US export order
The Observer, Friday, August 10, 2007
JAMAICA Broilers Limited yesterday officially opened its US$20-million (J$1.3-billion) ethanol plant – JB Ethanol – at Port Esquivel in St Catherine.
The plant, which can process sugar cane into fuel grade ethanol, was built with technical support from Brazil, and has the capacity to produce 60 million gallons of fuel grade ethanol annually.
“While it may be debated whether this represents the single largest investment by a local private sector entity in Jamaica in the past 20 years, it is irrefutable that this is, by far, the largest investment that has been made in the country’s ethanol industry,” Jamaica Broilers chairman Danvers ‘Danny’ Williams said at the opening ceremony, attended by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva and Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.
The ethanol plant, said Williams, has already filled a 3.2 million-gallon export order from the United States.
Jamaica Broilers said the plant was constructed in five months and was built in keeping with the country’s National Energy Policy of a 10 per cent ethanol additive to gasoline by 2008, as part of efforts to reduce the country’s growing oil bill.
While feedstock is imported from Brazil for use in the JB Ethanol plant, locally produced sugar cane feedstock can also be processed.
Prime Minister Simpson Miller, guest speaker at the opening, reiterated the need to reduce the country’s fuel bill, saying that Jamaica spent more than US$1.7 billion in 2006 on oil imports.
According to the prime minister, the government would be seeking to develop alliances with traditional and non-traditional partners to find alternative, cost-effective sources of energy.
The prime minister used the opportunity to praise government’s “favourable business environment” and the National Energy Policy initiative in facilitating the local use of ethanol as an additive to gasoline.
“Next year this time all fuel in Jamaica will contain 10 per cent ethanol,” Simpson Miller said.
She said, too, that the increased interest in ethanol as an alternative source of energy would provide significant opportunities for the viability of the local sugar industry and was an important plank in the current privatisation process.
President da Silva, who opened the plant, said his country was ready to provide Jamaica with all the technical support possible.
Jamaica, he said, had an advantage in the production of ethanol as the country had experience in sugar cane production and a skilled workforce. In addition, the Brazilian president said that the country had a long-term vision and the courage to innovate.
“That is why Jamaica will play a fundamental role in bio fuels,” said da Silva.
Brazil, the world’s leading producer of ethanol, is also the leading authority on practical flex fuel technology.
Almost 80 per cent of vehicles in that country are flex fuel capable using a either a mix of ethanol and gasoline or 100 per cent ethanol.

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