This Island Nation Has Found A Sweet Alternative To Fossil Fuels

This Island Nation Has Found A Sweet Alternative To Fossil Fuels

December 11, 2018

Many island nations have to import oil to generate electricity. But one is trading petroleum for something a little sweeter.

And by that we mean sugar cane. Mauritius, an island of roughly 1.26 million people off the eastern coast of Africa, now supplies 14 percent of its electricity needs with the bagasse — the dry material that’s leftover after all the sweet stuff’s squeezed out of it — which is burned to spin the turbines that produce power for the nation’s grid.

“Electricity is available 24 hours a day, on demand, without having to wait for the wind or the sun,” Jacques D’Unienville, a manager at Omincane, told AFP. “Since we can store bagasse as we would oil and coal.” 

The Mauritius government hopes that 35 percent of its electricity will come from renewable sources by 2025, which in addition to bagasse include solar and wind energy. “The 35 percent is not far off. We will have 11 solar parks by next year and at least two wind farms,” deputy prime minister Ivan Collendavello said.

And how’s this for a sweet ending: The carbon dioxide that’s generated from burning the sugar cane is captured and used to make soft drinks fizzy.

Read more about this innovative approach to renewable energy here.

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