With more than 170 participating countries and over 1500 project submissions annually, the Energy Globe Award is a prestigious environmental prize worldwide. It distinguishes projects regionally, nationally and globally that conserve resources such as energy or utilize renewable or emission-free sources. The 2016 National Winner of the Energy Globe Award in Belize installed a mobile biogas laboratory at the University of Belize’s Belmopan Campus in order to build capacity in the biogas sector. The submission for the Project “Biogas Laboratory at UB” was made by Henrik Personn, the Renewable Energy Expert at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC). The CCCCC is awarded the Energy Globe for Belize (for the project).
In its efforts, the CCCCC has been granted the support within the GIZ – REETA program to introduce a mobile biogas Laboratory at the University of Belize (UB) for use within CARICOM Members states and also by the private sector. The vision of the project meant that the CCCCC would purchase a facility to convert biomass into biogas by using locally supplied feedstock, consisting mostly of easy to harvest biomass, manure and organic waste. The laboratory was installed on November 27, 2015 and the CCCCC and GIZ REETA recognized UB for being a strong partner with the best capacity in Belize to utilize the Laboratory.
Since its installation, UB’s Faculty of Science and Technology has made strides in incorporating the Biogas Laboratory into educational activities through research and teaching. Currently, a collaborative effort to assess the biogas potential of several waste biomass including banana and citrus is being executed. A student in the University’s Bachelors of Biology Program recently conducted thesis work in the lab and presented his findings at the UB Biology and Chemistry Symposium held in May 2016. The University is also actively engaging stakeholders to determine how the biogas lab can contribute to solving some environmental concerns. As an example, the lab has received interest from Belize Aquaculture Limited to evaluate shrimp waste in its potential to produce biogas as an option for adding value to organic shrimp waste. Ultimately, UB intends to expand the lab’s capacity to provide scientific data that can contribute to the climate change agenda. This ranges in areas from guiding management decisions to reducing pollution due to organic waste to generating a renewable source of energy that can contribute to meeting cooking needs of rural communities. To achieve those goals, the University is seeking partnerships that can help support the initiatives of the Lab. Therefore, the Laboratory is exploring the possibility of expanding its research capacity through participation in the Red Mesoamericana de Investigacion y Desarrollo de Biocombustibles (RMIDB) and will be submitting a proposal for funding consideration from the network.
The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance (REETA) is a four year Project funded by the Government of Germany through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The REETA Project collaborates with the CARICOM Energy Programme in rendering support in the areas of Capacity-Building, Private Sector Cooperation and Regional Institutional Support.
For further information on the UB Biogas Laboratory research activities contact Karen Link or Mark O’Brien (501-822 -1000) at UB. For further information on the CCCCC’s involvement in the project contact Henrik Personn at (501-822-1104) or via firstname.lastname@example.org.