Solomon Airlines and Nufuels Ltd, a New Zealand-based clean technology company, have signed a partnership to work together to support the clean-up of plastics and other environmentally harmful waste from the Solomon Islands environment and to support local communities in sustainable environmental energy projects.
The companies will work with communities and corporate partners to develop regular environmental clean- ups to maintain cleaner waterways and roadside areas and will train community representatives to use technology to convert that waste to energy to lower household poverty and create new work opportunities.
“Solomon Airlines has a historic commitment to community based waste solutions and to the development of tourism, particularly eco-tourism, so we are particularly pleased to support this program,” said Solomon Airlines CEO Brett Gebers.
“There are numerous positive outcomes from cleaning up our surroundings, waterways and coastlines and introducing new technology which converts that waste to lower emissions and reusable energy. Through this partnership, we can also discover possibilities to utilising by-products in our own operation,” he said.
“The initial focus will include Central Honiara, Henderson and Munda, and establish processes to mitigate potential pollution which could have a negative impact on tourism development,” Mr Gebers added.
New Zealand-based Nufuels Ltd are the developers of simple community-scale ‘waste to energy’ technology designed for the Solomon Islands and wider Pacific. The technology converts processed waste to usable energy which is in turn economically used by local communties.
In the Solomon Islands, Nufuels and Solomon Airlines will identify and address areas where plastics wastes are visible or harmful to the local environment, including land, river corridors and fragile marine environments.
In the longer term, the partners will explore the development of bio-diesel for initial use in the Solomon Airlines ground fleet, and establish a system that can be accessed in the Henderson area.
Under a United Nations Small Project Fund initiative, Nufuels currently has three waste conversion systems to be deployed to St Martin’s Rural Training Centre Honiara, Kaotave Rural Training Centre, Guadalcanal and to St Peter’s Rural Training Centre, Gizo, Western Province including the Plasticwise Gizo group.
The systems are being built by the Henderson based Design and Technology Centre in partnership with Nufuels Ltd, with some components coming from New Zealand. This initiative builds on a pilot project funded by the New Zealand Government and Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand.
In conjunction with local communities, 6-9 months of training and community coordination are planned to embed the systems within each community and to assist utilisation of the recovered energy.
“Using simple technology we can recover usable energy from collected waste plastic using a process called pyrolysis,“ said Leigh Ramsey, Managing Director of Nufuels.
“Under our program, we provide communities with this technology as well as operational training to extract the energy from plastic waste and we encourage substituting this recovered energy for purchased fuels to help support households.
“Our approach is to address environmental preservation and to provide an ongoing community benefit at the same time.
“By working with communities to regularly clean up our environments we are assisting education about the importance of environmental preservation and by converting gathered waste to energy we are illustrating new possibilities that can assist to combat poverty and support the creation of jobs.
“Access to recovered energy can lessen household running costs by using the energy for cooking, clean water, for lighting and small generators, and also support small business production such as food drying and small scale manufacture,” Mr. Ramsey said.
“Importantly the training, education, and operational aspects of our projects are achievable for men and women. We are particularly keen to see increased participation by women,” he added.
“We already have two communities with existing waste conversion systems in the Solomon Islands and are now establishing three more.
“Looking forward we will steer on-going engagement with the contracted community coordinators based in Honiara and Munda working with the three new communities and two communities with existing systems.
”Recovered energy has an estimated 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over standard fuels and over time we see more opportunities to work closely with like-minded eco-tourism businesses such as Solomon Airlines and to explore bio-fuels and associated emulsion fuel initiatives within Solomon Islands and the wider Pacific,” he said.