Operators of privately-owned public service vehicles (PSVs) are gearing up to cash in on a soon-to-be-launched biofuel option that could cut fuel prices in half.
Chairman of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) Roy Raphael said with members looking to slash costs, the organisation will reach out to the principals of Rum and Sargassum Inc. to have discussions on how the sector can access biofuel produced in the company’s waste-to-energy project.
Rum and Sargassum Inc. has produced biogas from co-digesting rum distillery wastewater, Black Belly sheep manure and Sargassum seaweed in the laboratory of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. It expects to secure a full patent for its technology and to roll out its first biogas fuelling station in June.
“Our association is basically interested in sitting down with the persons involved and also ensure that we can benefit because we would like to reduce our fuel bill basically by 50 per cent between now and the next two years, and we are working towards that,” Raphael told Barbados TODAY.
“The thing is that we need to transition. This discussion on renewable energy started over five years ago…. We are basically not seeing the number of our operators [taking up clean energy]. I think that the time has come for us to have a really serious discussion on how we can go forward,” he added.
Pointing out that PSVs consume large amounts of fossil fuel, the AOPT chairman encouraged members of his organisation, which represents the
the largest number of PSVs on the island to utilise the recently announced loan facility to purchase electric, hybrid and natural gas vehicles.
In presenting her 2023 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals earlier this month, Prime Minister Mia Mottley said the Government was establishing a $3 million low-interest revolving fund to be managed at Fund Access for the acquisition of, or for the conversion to electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles, compressed natural gas (CNG) or solar-powered passenger vehicles for the PSV sector.
“We want to give an opportunity for our members to basically come and benefit from the $3 million. I know that Fund Access has a smart energy grant and a lot of our members have not benefitted from that. So we are encouraging them to go forward and get it,” Raphael said. (EJ)