Jamaica Biodiesel Program

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Program successfully wrapped August 2014!

The Puget Sound Professionals Jamaica Biodiesel team successfully closed out the 6 year commitment with our Jamaica community partners.  Read more about our project in the closeout documents submitted to EWB-USA.


The Need

Diesel is an expensive fuel source, particularly for an island nation that imports 90% of its oil. As economic conditions worldwide continue to depress the tourism industry, many communities struggle to fund essential programs, including emergency response services.

Using waste vegetable oil (WVO), biodiesel can be produced for approximately $2.50 per gallon. In addition, consumption of biodiesel yields ~78% less CO2 emissions than petroleum diesel, which helps reduce Jamaica’s carbon footprint and keeps fats and oils out of the sewer system.

Our Response

Since 2008, the Puget Sound Professionals chapter has worked with Jamaican Firefighters and students from the University of Technology in Kingston to train community members how to build and operate a biodiesel processor at the Negril Recycling Center.

Further work is needed to improve the methanol recovery process. Methanol left in solution prohibits complete soap extraction, leaving impurities in the biodiesel. Methanol recovery will further reduce the price of biodiesel, as well as decrease emissions from the biodiesel production process.

Jamaica team 2011 

Project Highlights

2008: A team of three sourced materials and chemicals for a processor. The team also strengthened relationships, including with those with the Negril Chamber of Commerce and the Univeristy of Technology in Kingston.
2010: The team completes an assessment trip in August, and an implementation trip in November. The team secured local sources of free WVO. Several test batches of biodiesel were produced and tested. The team was able to reduce the soap content in the biodiesel by 61%. The processor was fully operational by the time the team left in November.
2012: A team of four students and professionals traveled from Jamaica to Seattle for an immersion into our commercial biodiesel industry.  The EWB-PSP team of six traveled to Jamaica in December to continue to monitor the processor and to source materials for the methanol recovery module.
2014: The team will perform a monitoring trip in the fall to ensure the Jamaicans are off and running.