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Development
Arc Horizon provides technical and social development related expertise on development work in Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. We work diligently to provide tailored solutions for our clients; our experiences and knowledge on development related issues are key to the innovative solutions we provide. Our successes draw from our outstanding communication, analysis, and innovation.
Caribbean Biomass Initiative
Background
The 23 Caribbean island countries with their 42 million inhabitants share a common history of colonization and agriculture that has shaped their economic, social and cultural development. The rise and fall of the sugar cane industry has been one of the most significant events in their long past. The decline of sugar cane production in the Caribbean began over one hundred years ago, and its legacy of millions of acres of abandoned and under-utilized cane land now presents promising opportunities to meet a variety of economic, social and environmental challenges.
The Challenges

Sugar Cane on St. Croix, USVI, c. 1940
 
  • Island nations are dependent on offshore oil and gas supplies for electrical generation. This, plus obsolete and aging generating assets, has led to some of the highest electricity costs in the world.

  • Renewable energy is being pursued in many of the island nations. However, both solar energy and wind energy - the two most often considered strategies - are by their nature, inconsistent and intermittent sources of energy.

  • Island nations often struggle with basic infrastructure requirements: waste water management, solid waste disposal, and disposal of organic waste by-products from industries such as distilleries. These alone often do not generate enough biomass to support a viable generating system but could be integrated successfully into a larger system.

  • Many islands have high unemployment, and are seeking job creation opportunities, especially enterprises that are compatible with the tourism industry.
The Opportunities
 
  • Biomass energy production on abandoned agricultural land in the Caribbean has been studied extensively by many of the region's universities and governments for over thirty years. The general conclusion is that biomass energy can be sustainably grown, harvested, and delivered to dedicated energy facilities.

  • Biomass energy technology rarely was implemented in the past because it was not competitive with historically inexpensive fossil fuels. With current and projected oil prices, it may be the least expensive renewable energy available, and would produce very low net carbon emissions.

  • Dedicated biomass plantations could effectively use wastewater effluent for irrigation, absorbing nutrients and reducing ocean discharge. Wastewater biosolids also could be land-applied as nutrient replacement.

  • Vegetation and wood waste diverted from landfills could be used in conjunction with dedicated crops, thereby increasing the available biomass resource, and significantly reducing the amount being landfilled.

  • When energy biomass is grown with food crops, both animal and vegetable, in agro-forestry applications, the land can yield multiple benefits while maintaining bio-diversity and soil productivity.

  • Biomass energy (in reality stored sunlight) fits well with solar and wind generation, providing a dual use for the land in wind applications and a baseload for times when solar or wind is not available. The biomass asset will provide continuous generation, and, when combined with wind or solar, could be used to desalinate seawater, power irrigation, or support other intermittent uses when multiple power sources are available.

  • Biomass farming creates jobs for resident workers at various skill levels and on a continuous basis, while a functioning multi-faceted (wind, solar, biomass) renewable energy system could be the focus of eco-tourism and professional visitation.
A recent study conducted by Bioresource Management, Inc. showed that existing biomass resources could yield 10 MW or more of baseload generating capacity on the island of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, a significant portion of the island’s baseload requirement, at a rate below avoided cost. A quick review of other islands shows similar capacities compared to populations and land areas. This has been confirmed by studies conducted by outside energy and governmental organizations.
Capablilities
While each Caribbean island presents its unique set of problems and solutions, the actions needed for environmentally responsible and economically sound development of the biomass resource and its utilization infrastructure are basically similar. Every development requires a substantial investment of time and money. Equally important, every program will require public understanding and active support. Caribbean islands with significant areas of abandoned cane-land have the potential for reliable, cost-effective, sustainable, locally based energy production.
Archorizon and Bioresource Management have recognized this potential and are developing alliances for many of the Caribbean islands with the highest potential for biomass energy as a sustainable complement to emerging solar, wind, and natural gas development. By combining local expertise with proven financial, environmental and technical partners, Bioresource Management is actively exploring ways for islands to achieve energy independence.
Reducing Soil Erosion in Haiti
In 1925, 60% of original forests covered the lands and mountainous regions in Haiti. To date, an estimated 98% of the original forest cover has been cut for use as fuel for cook stoves, and in the process have destroyed fertile farmland soils, contributing to desertification. The pressure on cutting trees for fire wood in Haiti will remain until alternative sources for cooking have been developed, an area of research that continues to elude scientists after decades of research. Arc Horizon with partners is researching on ways to reduce erosion in Haiti. Contact us on how you could be involved.
 
Arc Horizon has a global presence, and our personnel have either conducted or evaluated projects in the following countries:

Africa

Kenya Ghana Uganda Mali
Burkina Faso South Africa Zimbabwe Mozambique

The Caribbean

Antigua Puerto Rico Haiti Dominican Republic

Central and South America

Ecuador Chile Costa Rica Brazil
Guyana
Arc Horizon works with several US universities on development work. We have technical expertise in agriculture and natural resource management. We understand and advise on social, government and policy issues in the developing countries.

 
 
 
 
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