From left: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office in charge of Energy, Senator Darcy Boyce; NPC Chairman, Sir Harcourt Lewis; and General Manager of the NPC, James Browne look over the natural gas fuelling station. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Barbados now has its first Commercial Grade Natural Gas Compressor.?? The Solar Powered Natural Gas Fuelling System was launched by the National Petroleum Corporation (NPC), last Friday at its headquarters in Wildey, St. Michael.

In his address during the launch, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office in charge of energy, Senator Darcy Boyce, lauded the Corporation for taking the usage of natural gas in Barbados a step further.

He said: "Natural gas has been used throughout Barbados in lighting, cooking, electrical generation, heating, drying and raw fuel material… Natural gas usage in transportation is an opportunity for a country’s comparative advantage."

Senator Boyce added that although natural gas was a fossil fuel it was cheaper and cleaner than conventional fuels like fuel oil, diesel and liquified petroleum gas.

"Natural gas produces up to 30 per cent less greenhouse gasses than diesel and fuel oil.?? Unlike other sources of energy, natural gas is neither dirty, costly nor inefficient in its usage.

"Energy consumption in electrical generation and transportation are 50 per cent and 33 per cent respectively of the more than US$200 million spent on energy in Barbados.?? There are opportunities for entities such as BNOCL [Barbados National Oil Company Limited] and NPC, to work with the private sector in reducing the overall cost through product diversification," the minister explained.

Senator Boyce pointed out that it would be some time before there could be a total switch from fossil fuel.?? "It is impossible to complete an entire shift within the short to medium-term; therefore, various sectors will continue to use fossil fuel for many years," he added.

NPC launched the Pilot Project study in 2007, with Courtesy Garage and BNOCL, using vehicles powered by natural gas.?? In 2010 the Corporation entered its second phase with the natural gas fueling system.??

"The day will come and we hope soon that Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles and CNG refueling stations will become prevalent in Barbados, as we strive to reduce the overall cost of energy, and equally as important, reduce the Green House Gas effects," Senator Boyce remarked.

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