The University of Guyana’s (UG) Faculty of Agriculture on Monday commissioned a gasifier machine that will have the capacity to produce 10-12kWatts of clean energy and will be used for research in the production of other biomass materials.
The project, supported by ExxonMobil Guyana by way of a US$20,000 grant, is also intended to provide clean and renewable energy to the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry.
At a simple ceremony which included senior members of the University Council, the academic community, donors, students, technical and research team, Dr. Lawrence Lewis – designer of the gasifier machine – explained the intended use of the unit. He outlined that the mechanical design was a few years in the making and that its output could lead to a long-term green energy solution.
The unit will begin its test and application phase over the next 12 months. During this period it will be tested under different conditions and will utilise chips from several types of wood to make the pellets that act as fuel for the unit.
Speaking at the ceremony, ExxonMobil Guyana Country Manager, Rod Henson, indicated that the company is pleased to support such initiatives as it seeks to contribute to the country’s social and economic progress. “The University of Guyana has been a critical institution for this country since before independence, and it’s an institution that we believe will help to shape the transformation to come,” he stated, referring to the advent of oil production and spin-off effects of an oil and gas industry in Guyana.
Also making remarks, UG Chancellor (Ag) Ret’d Major Gen. Joe Singh highlighted the importance of the project and the potential impact it could have on national development. “I hope that all those who are exposed to this new technology will understand and appreciate that it’s not just science, not just a research project; but how is this going to transform the lives of people, how is it going to reduce waste, how is it going to impact positively on the environment,” he said, noting that there must also be emphasis on how the project can be replicated in other parts of the country.
ExxonMobil said it has worked with dozens of leading universities and academic research institutions around the world as part of its commitment to finding meaningful and scalable solutions to meet global energy demand while also reducing emissions.
“ExxonMobil continues to fund and conduct research on advanced biofuels such as algae. This work is one of our many investments in new technologies with the transformative potential to increase energy supplies, reduce emissions and improve operational efficiencies,” Henson outlined.
UG said bio char, used as a soil ameliorant, can aid Guyana’s international commitment to mitigate climate change and contribute to the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) by storing carbon in the soil in a stable form. This project is part of its major orientation towards a more robust research agenda in STEM.