ASSESSING WILD VARIETIES OF CANE FOR THE CO-GENERATION OF ELECTRICITY

Electrical energy generated from wild cane can be made available year round. Photo courtesy: CCCCC

The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) in collaboration with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (CCCCC) and the Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute (SIRDI) is assessing varieties of wild cane for the cogeneration of electrical energy in Belize. Belize presently generates approximately 10% of its electrical power from burning bagasse- a byproduct of the sugar industry. It is the third largest source of energy behind hydropower (46%) and energy imported from Mexico (27%).

Sugarcane and its relatives are recognized as high energy potential feedstock for the cogeneration of electricity.

CARDI Belize is leading the agronomic evaluations of these varieties. This includes the collection of samples, taxonomic classifications, molecular profiling, germination tests, experimental design and establishment of treatment plots. CARDI will also be involved the monitoring of the experiment and data collection.
Biometrician Videsh Jagroo conducted a 2 day training on biometrics techniques on 27 and 28 August for researchers in the CARDI Belize Unit and partner agencies: SIRDI, University of Belize, and Ministry of Agriculture. Modules included design and layout of experiments, sampling and data collection.
The trials will be established on 400 acres of land in the Orange Walk district.
The two primary sources of electricity in Belize are both expensive and unreliable. The use of biofuel derived from wild cane will support the country’s energy independence and lower the environmental impact of burning fossil fuels to generate electricity. This work complements CARDI’s Renewal Energy programme.

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