Categorized | National News

The Bahamas Finding Innovative New Ways to Protect the Ozone Layer

The Bahamas has been pursuing Ocean Thermal Energy as an ozone friendly alternative when it comes to air conditioning and/or refrigeration, Minister of the Environment and Housing Kenred Dorsett said recently.

The mega-resort of Baha Mar has sought out this technology as an alternative to reducing its electrical cost and refrigerant usage, Minister Dorsett explained.

Consequently, The Baha Mar Sea Water District Cooling (SDC) Project has been drafted, he said at the opening ceremony of the two-day Sub-Regional Meeting of the Ozone Officers of The English Speaking Caribbean and Haiti at SuperClubs Breezes last Wednesday.

“Subject to the compliance with all regulatory requirements of the various agencies, the Government of The Bahamas has agreed to the installation of an undersea pipeline that would run along the route extending from Prospect Ridge up to Goodman’s Bay parking lot and enter the water toward Long Cay.

“The technology associated with this pipeline is designed for 9,800 tons of ocean water to meet 100 per cent of the air-conditioning load of Baha Mar. It is expected to displace Baha Mar’s chiller load of 7 Megawatts and 59,000 barrels of oil/year.”

Minister Dorsett said it has been proven that 50 per cent of a building’s energy consumption is attributed to air conditioning and/or refrigeration.

“Therefore, it is imperative that Small Island Developing States such as The Bahamas develop innovative strategies to maximize energy efficiency.

“The Government of The Bahamas recently released a National Energy Policy to improve the energy sector for some 20 years.

He explained that one of the goals of the country is to be “a world leader in the development and implementation of sustainable energy opportunities, and continuously pursues a diverse range of well-researched and regulated, environmentally sensitive and sustainable energy programmes, built upon our geographical, climatic and traditional economic strengths.” Minister Dorsett said, adding that for over 15 years the European community has been utilising hydrocarbon technology in air-conditioning and refrigeration.

“Many have shunned this technology because hydrocarbons are flammable and this raises serious safety concerns. With good practices and safety protocols, the Europeans have had minimal incidences.”

He said studies reveal that the benefits have outweighed the possible negative effects as the hydrocarbon technology is found to be more energy efficient, it has a lower global warming potential (GWP) and the technology cools better than conventional refrigerants.

“Some countries in the region such as Jamaica, St. Lucia, Grenada, and Belize have utilized hydrocarbon technology and have yielded energy savings of 20–40 per cent.

“In view of these positive results, the National Ozone Unit of the Department of Environmental Health Services has embarked on a pilot project to assess the viability of using this alternative gas.”

Minister Dorsett said the project would involve the main building of the Department of Environmental Health Services headquarters and its Solid Waste Management Building.

The project seeks to:
• determine the peak performance of the present refrigerant with a calculated energy usage;
• retrofit the present equipment to contain the hydrocarbon technology;
• install a hydrocarbon monitor;
• determine the energy savings accrued over a specified period of time;
• generate a report of the Ministry of the Environment and Housing for presentation; and
• seek the government’s wishes as to whether it would like to implement such technology in other government buildings.

The Sub-Regional Meeting of the Ozone Officers of The English Speaking Caribbean and Haiti is organised by the United Nations Environment Program in collaboration with The Bahamas Government.

The aim of the meeting is to strengthen the ability of National Ozone officers to implement the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in their respective countries.

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was designed to reduce the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances in order to reduce their abundance in the atmosphere, and thereby protect the earth’s fragile ozone layer.

The original Montreal Protocol came to an agreement on September 16, 1987 and entered into force on January 1, 1989.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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