Mon | Sep 25, 2017

UTech-PCJ deal big for Jamaica - Arrangement to aid nation in field of renewable energy research

Published:Friday | March 17, 2017 | 3:00 AMJason Cross
From left: Russell Hadeed, chairman, Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica; Dr Andrew Wheatley, minister of science and technology; Professor Stephen Vasciannie, president of the University of Technology; and Winston Watson, PCJ group general manager, at the signing of a partnership agreement between the PCJ and UTech at the offices of the PCJ on Wednesday.

Budding local researchers and scientists who stood the chance in the past of losing their research ideas to top universities in the United Kingdom may soon be able to breathe a sigh of relief after a $5-million partnership deal-signing between the University of Technology (UTech) and the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ).

In the past, young scientists had difficulties sourcing funds for their research and would usually ended up seeking collaboration with universities in England and the United States.

Those institutions were then able to determine the direction in which the copyrights were distributed.

The grant deal will give promising scientists and researchers involved specifically in the area of renewable energy the opportunity to gain for themselves a master's degree in engineering at the university. Also, a portion of the funds will be dedicated to funding research projects designed by UTech engineering students.

Those research findings and innovations will in turn be used by the PCJ to improve its renewable energy framework, hoping to cut back much more on greenhouse gas emissions.

Science, Energy, and Technology Minister Andrew Wheatley was present at the signing on Wednesday, which took place at the PCJ's head office on Trafalgar Road, St Andrew, and sought to fully endorse the deal.

 

SEEKING BREAKTHROUGH

 

"Every country (that is) as serious about development as we are is now involved in the nation-building twin task of reducing energy cost and green house gas or CO2 emissions. Historically, home-based scientific research and innovation has driven countries' economic and social development through the decades. This deliberate move, therefore, to fund scientific and academic research and, hopefully, breakthroughs augurs well for Jamaica's race to secure efficient and clean energy," Wheatley stated.

"It is not a pun, but the future does look green, as UTech and PCJ play their part in ensuring that Jamaica improves on its 2004-2016 cut in CO2 emissions by more than one million metric tons (some 800,000t) from the Wigton Wind Farms. We look forward to the contributions that will be made by UTech's School of Engineering and the students who will be beneficiaries of renewable energy scholarship and research grants."

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com