Photo (from Left): Esworth Reid (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Barbados), Analeise Murahidy (UniServices), Nick Reilly (UniServices), Chemmat’s Dr Saeid Baroutian, Kirk Humphrey (Barbados Minister of Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs), Chemmat PhD Candidate Terrell Thompson
On September 6th, Chemmat’s Dr Saeid Baroutian and Chemmat PhD Candidate Terrell Thompson met with Barbados Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Hon. Kirk Humphrey and New Zealand Deputy High Commissioner in the Caribbean (Ruth Delany). Nic Smith, Analeise Murahidy and Nick Reilly (UniServices) were also present.
In recent years pelagic Sargassum has invaded the coastlines of the Caribbean region, Gulf of Mexico, Florida and West Africa. With intense expansion since 2011 due to environmental and oceanic anthropogenic changes, these brown seaweeds have negatively impacted aquaculture and the overall productivity of several major sectors in the Caribbean region.
Kirk Humphrey is very interested in the Hydrothermal Processing technology Saeid and Terrell are developing and they believe this can solve the massive problem of Sargassum Seaweed in the Caribbean region, which currently threatens tourism and has damaged the economy in Barbados.
“We are developing a two-step process to convert pelagic Sargassum into bioenergy and fertiliser. First, we use hydrothermal technology to pre-treat sargassum and then we anaerobically digest the pre-treated Sargassum. Sargassum is unsustainable feedstock for energy extraction given its low bioconversion and unpredictable influx volume. As such, we also explore the co-digestion of this biomass and wastewater sludge and food waste,” says Saeid.
Barbados and New Zealand share strongly aligned interests in the area of environmental pollution and climate change, and Saied and Terrell hope this visit will result in a strong international partnership and future collaboration.