Jamaica ramps up biofuel efforts

State-owned Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) is weighing up the possibility of replacing imported oil with biofuels from local crops.

PCJ has made agreements with Bodles Agricultural Research Station and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute to cultivate select crops for biofuel production.

'We are also procuring an oil press, which will press the seeds out to get the oil, which we can test,' says Peter Ruddock, manager of renewable energy and energy efficiency, PCJ.

Research is currently being carried out on jatropha and castor, with the results expected to be released in one or two years.

Once the desired crops have been selected, PCJ will focus their attention on harvesting, oil extraction, testing the engines and creating a retail market with Petrojam, which provides Jamaica with petroleum products.