Rabobank backs Caribbean biofuel project

The Netherlands-headquartered bank Rabobank and sustainable solutions provider Econcern have reached financial close for establishing a sustainable energy system on the Caribbean island of Bonaire including a biodiesel plant.

The project includes construction of a 14 MW biodiesel plant, supplied by MAN, and a 3 MW backup battery, and an 11 MW wind farm, supplied by Enercon. The system is designed to meet the island’s entire electricity needs sustainably.

Econcern is the Ecopower consortium that will build, own and operate the energy system.
Enercon and MAN are partners in the consortium. The system, which is designed to meet the island’s electricity needs for the next 15 years, will reduce Bonaire’s reliance on expensive fossil fuel imports.

Ecopower will sell the power generated to the Water and Electricity Company of Bonaire (WEB).

The system will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 35,000 tonnes per year, rising to 70,000 tonnes once the biodiesel generator switches to biofuel.

The biodiesel power plant will be equipped to burn conventional and biofuels. Initially the plant will run on conventional heavy fuel oil; however the plant will switch to biofuel within two to three years of being in operation.

Studies are currently being carried out on the production of bio-oil from algae. Another option is import bio-oil from countries in the region.

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