Asian company, IAST collaborates in US$35M investment

IASTGeorgetown: Asian company Pinnacle Green Resources will be investing some US$35M in three projects that will transform waste from various sectors into viable projects which will benefit Guyana.

These projects will be done in collaboration with the Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology (IAST). The two entities signed a Letter of Intent last month that will be transferred into a binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The projects will be fully funded by the company.

IAST Director, Professor Suresh Narine said that the institute will be providing the company with the know-how of local species, types of waste, and the development of technologies along with technical assistance. He went on to say that in return IAST will be given five per cent equity from the project. Narine explained that the equity will be given without any investments on the part of the Government of Guyana or the institute. This, he added, has resulted in the collaboration effectively being a public/private partnership.

“It’s a clear example of science and technology being used to generate commerce, wealth creation, addressing environmental issues and utilising natural resources and then ensuring that we place a value on the provision of technology so that the taxpayers who fund IAST ultimately can have a return on that investment not only in terms of a direct return from us sharing equity, but from the creation of job opportunities etc,” he pointed out.

In a brief statement, Pinnacle Green Resources Executive Director Manu Bansal expressed his excitement to be partnering with IAST on these projects. He explained that while he had initially approached Government with one project proposal, he got three instead. Bansal noted that, nevertheless, his company is committed to seeing all three projects come to fruition.

Meanwhile, President Donald Ramotar welcomed the projects, noting that he has always been pushing IAST to move past research and enter the commercial sector. The President pointed out that these projects will not be putting pressure on the forest instead they will be using up waste from industrial activities there. “These projects, while they will be beginning on the Essequibo Coast, my hope is that they will serve as a demonstration effect in other parts of our country that would have other type of wastes that could be used instead of being thrown away, that could be converted into commercial arrangements,” Ramotar remarked.

Additionally, he noted that these projects are expected to create 300 to 400 job opportunities particularly in the Essequibo Region, which is mostly dependent on rice cultivation. The first project is the construction and operation of a facility to produce 200 tonnes per day of biomass wood-pellets for export to Europe. This project cost some US$16.5 million. An energy plantation will be built on five acres of land in Pomeroon for this production. The land was leased by GO-Invest under the Memorandum of Understanding.

Project number two will see the construction and operation of a facility that will produce three tonnes of activated carbon per day from coconut shells, primarily to service the gold recovery industry. Activated carbon is used extensively in the recovery of gold, refining and bleaching of vegetable oils and chemical solutions among other industrial purposes. Activated carbon manufactured from coconut shells is said to be superior to those obtained from other sources. This project will be executed to the tune of US$2.5 million.

While some US$10.6 million will be plugged into the third project to facilitate the construction and operation of a gasification facility and an eight mega-watt electricity generating facility using waste biomass. It was pointed out that Guyana spends around 50 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on electricity generation and this will be curbed. The three projects are expected to be in operation within the next two years, with the first one, the activated carbon project launching in March 2015. The gasification and electricity project and the wood-pellet project are scheduled to commence in the next 24 months and 18 months respectively.

Pinnacle Green Resources is an India-based company operating in several Asian countries and in Trinidad. The company has substantial experience in converting waste into power generation.