Jamaica Readies for Sustainable Biofuels Production

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

In recent years, liquid biofuels for transport have benefited from significant political support due to their potential (co-beneficial) role in mitigating climate change and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Additionally, biofuels is one of the avenues for green job creation and the facilitation of rural development by providing new markets for agricultural production. However, concerns have been raised regarding the production of biofuels on the environment. These concerns need to be addressed by a well-established methodology, especially in island settings, where land availability is limited. Jamaica is therefore preparing for the handover of a tool that will help the country assess the environmental impact of biofuels production.

Under the “Biofuels Outreach in Support of the Implementation of the US- Brazil Memorandum of Understanding for Biofuels Development” program framework, the Organization of American States (OAS) through its Department of Sustainable Development in partnership with the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (MSTEM) and the Center for Life Cycle Assessment and Sustainable Design (CADIS), have supported the implementation of a Life Cycle Sustainable Assessment (LCSA) in Jamaica, to help decision-makers (public and private sector) to advance the production of local biofuels.

The OAS is currently coordinating a training workshop entitled “Life Cycle Sustainable Assessment and Global Bio Energy Partnership (GBEP) Indicators for Sustainable Biofuels in Jamaica.” This meeting will take place from July 6-10, 2015 and is intended to outline and understand the results of the LCSA developed for Jamaica, along with a detailed simulation of the training program. The workshop will be complimented with an overview of the GBEP indicators for bioenergy development, and the attendees will have the opportunity to analyze the environmental, economic and social impacts of ethanol production and co-generation, using data of the sugarcane industry. Additionally, the participants will train on the 24 voluntary sustainable GBEP bioenergy indicators, the approaches for their measurement and the benefits of applying the indicators for facilitating a sustainable development of bioenergy.

The workshop will conclude with the handover ceremony of the LCSA Software SimaPro, and will gather high-level representatives and officials from the Government of Jamaica, CADIS, UTECH and OAS. After nearly two years of data collection, this sustainable biofuel production program has accomplished its pilot phase, and is ready to be incorporated as a sound methodology for local biofuel production.