My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Government of Jamaica ponders E15 in 2020 as World moves toward Biofuels, LNG and Electric Vehicles

Monday, July 9, 2018

Government of Jamaica ponders E15 in 2020 as World moves toward Biofuels, LNG and Electric Vehicles

“We’re not there just yet (but) I have asked my team at the Ministry and at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) to see how best we can increase it,”

Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley at the launch of Total Jamaica’s Excellium fuel at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on May 16.

Jamaican may soon be driving on more ethanol based fuel.

This as the Government may be moving up to 15% or higher ethanol blend by 2020 as reported in the article “Gov’t Considers Increasing Ethanol Blend in Petrol”, published May 18, 2018 By Chad Bryan, The Jamaican Information Service.

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The aim is to reduce the carbon footprint of Gas Stations in Jamaica without reducing vehicle performance. Ethanol is offered across the island offer E10 fuel, which is a blend of 10 per cent ethanol from sugar cane in both 90 and 87 octane gas.

However, according to Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, globally it's at 15%. So Jamaica has a bit of catching up to do.

So will this make a real difference to motorists? And what about the introduction of purely E100 vehicles?

E15 in 2020 - Biofuels, LNG and Electric Vehicles should be the aim by 2020

Ethanol is a clean-burning, high-octane fuel based on a rather elegant organic molecule. Ethanol is also found in alcoholic beverages in various concentrations for safe human consumption as listed in my MICO Wars blog entitled “A Jamaican List of the Alcoholic Content of Wines and Spirits”.
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It can be used in 2001 of newer vehicles or flex fuel vehicles and is on the lower rung of Ethanol blended fuels which includes:

1.      E10
2.      E20
3.      E30
4.      E85

It can be produced from common crops such as:

1.      Corn
2.      Sugar cane
3.      Potato
4.      Cassava
5.      Hemp

Ethanol use reduces greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 50%. This is because unlike gasolene it does not contain harmful chemicals like the petroleum additive, MTBE and lead.

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However, its energy density is very low and may be the reason why Jamaica is yet to step up to E20, E30, E85 or E100.

Jamaica and Biofuels – Reducing Oil Importation and Carbon footprint the aim for 2020

Biofuels would be a better substitute as the PCJ (Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica) and UTECH (University of Technology) been working on a biofuel based on Castor Oil for some time as noted in my blog article entitled “PCJ, UTECH develop Castor Oil-based Biodiesel to reduce Oil imports by 97,000 barrels”.
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Not only does biofuel have the potential to reduce the importation of oil and its use among heavy polluters like large diesel Trucks and buses, but it can be mass produced more easily. Biofuel can be produce from a wider range of organic material that is not food related, such as wasted organic matter e.g. grass cuttings, organic debris and even cooking oil.

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Already, the Government is moving to test LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) on JUTC Buses in 2019 with a move towards Hybrid Gas-Electric vehicles by 2020 as reported in my blog article entitled “Why JUTC going Hybrid indicates removal of 60% import duty on Electric Vehicles”. 

Hopefully too, Jamaicans who drive gasolene powered vehicles will have a similar option to convert their vehicle to use LNG or just invest in an electric vehicle in 2020, instead of just more alcohol in their vehicles. That would go a long way to not only reducing our carbon footprint but also our importation of fuel.

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