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Sep 14, 2023

The Possibility of Turning Sargassum to Renewable Energy

Several options have been explored on how to effectively address the overwhelming issue of sargassum washing up on the shores of Ambergris Caye, a prime tourism destination in the country.  But what about using the sea grass as a source of renewable energy?  It’s an idea that was pitched to Prime Minister John Briceño during a trip to Germany.  On Wednesday, Cabinet Secretary Stuart Leslie shared details of an upcoming initiative in which government is partnering with a company from Germany that will work on converting sargassum to energy.


Stuart Leslie

Stuart Leslie, Cabinet Secretary

“That’s actually an exciting project that started out when the prime minister and I were invited to Berlin, in Germany, over a year ago where we met up with this German group called Verodin and they have been looking at the sargassum problem.  They‘ve worked in places in Europe and they‘ve also worked in the Dominican Republic and they found out a lot about Belize and they invited us to go to Berlin to say, “Look, we want to help Belize solve its sargassum problem.”  And they came to Belize last week, they met with the prime minister and they met with Minister Mahler from the Ministry of Tourism and they also, prior to that, met with Minister Michel Chebat and so they came in to get a full picture.  The engineer came in and showed the prime minister how they can turn sargassum into energy.  So it’s now becoming a waste to energy program.  The first thing would be to try and build a plant on San Pedro.  The idea is to collect sargassum offshore.  So collect it on the sea and then bring it into Belize through a drying process, desalinate and then burn it and turn it into energy, and even whatever waste from that could be used to substitute tar, to tar the streets and so on.  So this first project which would generate enough electricity to keep San Pedro from getting blackouts would cost about fifty million dollars and they have gotten investors interested and they are looking for other partners.  When the prime minister asked the engineer that’s designing the project how much is this going to cost Belizeans?  His response was all we need is the sargassum from the sea.  So we are very excited about this program and they are saying that they are going to be able to start by putting boats in the water by March 2024.  So look out for what‘s coming.  It would solve the problem of Sargassum that we have and at the same time be another source of clean energy and cheaper energy for Belize.”

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