Baby steps on the road to a fossil-fuel free future

When Jamal Mahawat Khan speaks, if my mind wonders for a second, I’m lost — this guy is intense, and his narrative is filled with facts and figures. The former head of the local Chamber of Commerce shared lots of interesting information with me but what is worthy of publication as 2017 comes to conclusion is his pursuit of secondary recycling, in conjunction with ECOTEC Aruba Waste Management and Waste Collection.

According to Jamal he first got interested in recycling in the 90s, when from his office window at Barcadera — he was operating a rice packing company at the time, getting rice from his family farm in Surinam and shipping it to Europe under favorable import conditions — he regularly witnessed the dump on fire. This eternal flames eventually brought him to recycling and for the past few years his company has been collecting/buying used car batteries on the island. The old car batteries have a price tag and as a result of his good efforts, no car batteries ever show up at the dump, they find their way to CARENTRA, Caribbean Energy Traders, and get recycled. Kudos.

He then turned his attention to the greatest offenders, old car tires, and educated himself on the subject of pyrolysis, a heat using process that melts the rubber, separates the steel and black carbon, and uses the rest as alternative fuel, good enough to propel a WEB generator.

So that’s his current pet project.

Starting January 2018, he will be producing 1,000 liter a day, and can go up to 5,000 liter every three days — he identified a live buyer, and will be recycling rubber, coming off the island’s 70.000 cars. Yuppee, no more toxin-releasing, pest-breeding, fire-risking, landfill polluting tires hanging around our landscape. As I just learned, those things do not decompose on their own free will, thus giving them a second life in fuel generation is the only way to go.

Jamal is also pursuing used motor oil, collected from the island’s garages, previously dumped in the wilderness. He will be turning the oil into usable energy, clean enough to partially power WEB, if WEB did not heap so many obstacles on his way. But not to worry, he identified a live buyer and step by step is getting there.

These secondary recycling projects will also provide some menial work for the clients of Aruba Stichting Trampolin pa Trabou, a job coach organization for people with disabilities age 16 and up who are workless but have enough potential to be able to work if trained and given guidance. CARENTRA offers some opportunities for them, endorsed and encouraged by CEDE Aruba, an organization which brings people and resources together for a sustainable development.


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December 28, 2017
Rona Coster