Massachusetts Institute of Technology recognizes innovation of young Cuban

Source:  Cubadebate
May 3 2018

mit recognizes cuban youth.jpg

The Cuban Alexander López Savran stands today as one of 35 young Latin American members of the latest selection of the magazine of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one of the most prestigious in the world.

According to the Spanish version of the publication, considered the oldest technology magazine in the world, it is a group of innovators under 35 years old who from Latin America are about to change the world with technology.

Thanks to his work with biodigesters that recycle the waste from a pig center and transform it into biogas in the town of Cabaiguán, Sancti Spíritus province, López Savran, aged 31, received the award granted by MIT in November.

Its innovation was qualified by the US institute as “one of the technological solutions that improve and even save people’s lives” and its author was the only Cuban included in the MIT Technology Review in Spanish.

Social component

Also a member of the Latin American Biogas Network, Savran ensures that his work stands out in particular for the social component, beneficial for the inhabitants of four communities of this town, 350 kilometers east of Havana, especially for his habits in the management and use of energy carriers.

Speaking to Prensa Latina, López Savran explained that the innovation consists of creating a new type of biodigestor based on the fixed dome model, with which it is possible to obtain greater efficiency and distribution of the gas without any waste of energy.

“I made structural and constructive changes that allow to save material and get more resistance”, he explained and added “also a new service is created in those communities of Cabaiguán, a municipality with ample work in the use of biogas”.

The award also recognizes the social impact of their idea, which among other advantages, increases the quality of life of the population, improves the family economy, creates new jobs, offers training, helps the energy culture, eliminates the use of firewood and, therefore, avoid deforestation.

Reduction in electricity bill

According to the publication, thanks to these biodigesters, 500 residents of the beneficiary communities have managed to reduce their electricity bill by 50 percent from traditional sources.

They also manage to reduce the consumption of conventional energy carriers, with a saving of more than 122 megawatt hours per year, avoid greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the care of nature, explains López Savran, graduate of Electrical Engineering at the University Central de Las Villas.

The initiative allows to diversify the types of energy used in Cuba at a time when the island wants to reduce its dependence on expensive fossil fuels.

Data from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (Cosude) ensure that about 28 percent of the country’s energy is obtained from biomass, a figure largely driven by local alternatives such as this, compatible with food security and environmental sustainability.

According to the young Cuban, it is also a very feasible investment, with a recovery of one or two years. According to his experience, Cuba is included among the nations that most power this type of energy in the region.

“After seeing the experiences of the Latin American Biogas Network I realized that we are quite good in that sense, but there is still a lot of potential that is not used when it could be done,” the researcher claimed.

He added that ‘this would of course have a favorable impact on the economic, social and environmental spheres’.

Many people call Cabaiguán the capital of Biogas in Cuba, which has taken a lot of work and effort, but the achievement is there, not words, it is a fact, he remarked.

(With information from Prensa Latina)

Antigua and Barbuda Inaugurates Oil Yard With Venezuela Help

Source:  TeleSUR
September 1 2017

antigua improves energy infrastructure.jpgAn oil tank is seen at PDVSA’s Jose Antonio Anzoategui industrial complex in
the state of Anzoategui. | Photo: Reuters

The oil tank yard was constructed with help from Venezuela’s state-owned PDVSA and a Chinese company.

The West Indies Oil Company Limited, WIOC, has inaugurated a new oil tank yard in St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda, improving the country’s energy infrastructure.

RELATED: ‘Libya and Iraq Are Lessons’: Antigua & Barbuda Warn Against Threats to Venezuela

Roughly 51 percent of the project is owned by the government of Antigua and Barbuda, while 25 percent is owned by Venezuela’s state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela, PDVSA, and another 24 percent is owned by a Chinese company.

Gaston Browne Antigua 2c.jpgThe yard, which features three new tanks, was inaugurated in the presence of Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne and Petrocaribe President Raul la Causi. Petrocaribe, launched in 2005 with help from former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, promotes oil-centered economic cooperation between the South American country and Caribbean nations.

The three tanks will produce an increase of 400,000 barrels in the country’s fuel storage power. Overall, they are expected to increase the supply of fuels for the Caribbean region as a whole while reducing costs.

Browne thanked Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for cooperation and solidarity with the Caribbean, especially with his country.

He also said that he advocates that countries should respect the principle of self-determination and sovereignty, referring to the sanctions imposed by the United States on Venezuela last month.

Cuban specialists to train in the assembly of electric cars

Source:  Cuban News Agency
June 23 2016

Cuban specialists will begin training in the assembly of electric cars over the next few years, said Industry Minister Salvador Pardo during a business round in Havana.

salvador pardo cruz cubaindustria 2016.jpg

The minister said that the initiative is in tune with the social and economic guidelines adopted by the Cuban Communist Party and is particularly linked to the need to use renewable energy sources and change the country´s energy matrix.

cuba to assemble electric carsThis does not mean that we will have electric cars in just few years, since these will be the first steps and will take time and resources to identify future investment projects, said the minister who attended the Second International Convention of the Cuban Industry.

China´s minister of Industries and Information Technology Miao Wei said that the first course on the manufacture of electric cars will be held in Cuba soon. He said that such vehicles can operate in a 50-kilometer area and recharge through a network of generators scattered around the city.

In 2015, China allocated six billion dollars to this industry, which reports significant energy saving.

Oil for development not profit: PetroCaribe’s making a tangible impact in Jamaica


PrintThe PetroCaribe Development Fund, is a body corporate created by the Government of Jamaica in December 2006 to manage the proceeds which accrue to Jamaica under the PetroCaribe Energy Cooperation Agreement through an Amendment to the Petroleum Act in 2006.

Under the Agreement, the Government of Venezuela agreed to convert a portion of each payment due for petroleum products supplied to PetroJam Ltd., the state-owned refinery, into a long-term concessionary loan.

The amount financed from each invoice, the interest rate and the repayment period depend on the prevailing price of oil in the international market place. When the price of oil exceeds US$40 per barrel, between 30% and 70% of each invoice is financed and the loan is repaid over 25 years at 1% interest rate per annum. Below US$40, between 5% and 25% of each invoice would be financed over 17 years at a 2% interest rate per annum.

The inflows that accrue to Jamaica under the arrangement are managed by the Fund and are used to provide loan financing to the Ministry of Finance and Planning and self-financing public bodies for critical development projects. The Fund also maintains a portfolio of investments to enhance its overall returns and provide liquidity for GOJ debt servicing and operational expenses.

The economic and social transformation of the country

The strategic objective of The Fund is to utilize the available resources to promote the goals of the PetroCaribe Energy Cooperation Agreement which is to contribute to the country’s economic and social transformation. Its operations must be financially sustainable so as to ensure that the resources are available to service the debt obligations to Venezuela as they become due.

The resources of The Fund may be used for the following purposes:

  • Upgrading of social and physical infrastructure
  • Stimulating economic growth
  • Supporting the development of human resources
  • Supporting projects which promote the use of alternative source of energy
  • Refinancing of public sector domestic debt

Benefits for the most vulnerable in the society

The Fund also operates a grant facility through which investments are made in projects and programmes which benefit the most vulnerable in the society and their communities. Resources for this aspect of its operations flow from the surplus generated by its loan financing and investing activities.

Lending activity

As sated above, the PetroCaribe Development Fund provides loan financing to the Ministry of Finance and Planning and self-financing public bodies for critical development projects. These loans are intended to support the achievement of the strategic objectives of the Government and to promote the goals of the PetroCaribe Energy Cooperation Agreement for social transformation and economic development of participating countries.

Grant Funding

The Board of Management established a grant facility to support projects that would directly improve the welfare of the most vulnerable members of the society. This initiative is in keeping with the mandate of the PetroCaribe Energy Cooperation Agreement which has among its fundamental objectives the eradication of social inequalities through fostering improved standards of living for the people of the region. The Facility is financed by utilizing a portion of the surplus generated from the Funds’ lending and investment activities and is used to finance socio-economic projects which are consistent with the goals of Vision 2030, Jamaica’s National Development Plan.


Caribbean Maritime Institute

Caribbean-Maritime-Institute (1)During the FY2013/14, a J$85 million grant was approved for the Caribbean Maritime Institute for the establishment of an Advanced Skills Training and Innovation Centre to support vocational training for maritime facilities and the planned build-out of the port facilities under the Logistics Hub Programme. The Centre will provide qualified persons with training in the field of industrial automation and mechatronics and will be implemented in partnership with German company, FESTO Didactic, a world leader in industrial automation technologies training.

The Centre will produce certified technicians needed for the maintenance and operation of ports to meet not only the demand in Jamaica, but also regionally and internationally. Local partners such as the Heart Trust NTA, University of Technology and the University of the West Undies will also facilitate training and certification of students.

Hope Zoo Education Project

Under a grant of J$20 million from the PetroCaribe Development Fund, 10,000 students benefitted from non-traditional teaching methods aimed at improving their learning patterns from an initiative undertaken at the Hope Zoo in St. Andrew. The engagement, an education project tour, was jointly implemented by the Ministry of Education, Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), and the Hope Zoo Preservation Foundation. It targeted children, aged 3 to 17 years, who were enrolled in public early childhood institutions, primary schools, and high schools, as well as youngsters with special needs and wards of the State.

The project provided social, cultural and environmental support to the national curriculum. It sought to convey a greater sense of civility and social responsibility as students were sensitized to good practices in solid waste management and renewable energy. The lesson plan also offered opportunities for integrated learning and taught the children how to carefully and respectfully interact with animals, the environment and their peers.

Construction of Falmouth Pier

petrocaribe - construction of falmouth pierIn August 2010, loan financing totaling $894 million (US$11 million) was approved for the UDC to support the redevelopment and upgrade of the town of Falmouth. This was in tandem with the construction of a cruise pier and terminal by the Port Authority of Jamaica and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines to accommodate the Oasis of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world. Of the approved amount, approximately $154.6 million (US$1.8 million) was disbursed during that year.

Under the project, the UDC focused on upgrading the physical and social infrastructure of Falmouth to enable the town to capitalize on the benefits of the tourist traffic and to improve the condition of the historic town for its residents. The project will result in the construction of a new regional headquarters for the Jamaica Constabulary Force, improved solid waste collection, traffic management and relocation of squatters to improve conditions just outside of the town.

Rise Life Management Services Solar Energy Project

RISE Life Management Services Solar Energy Project benefited from the approval of a grant from the Fund valued at J$2.5 million during FY2013/14. With the Fund’s support, the organization launched an Energy Conservation Initiative for their operations through the installation of a grid-tied solar photovoltaic system. This system consists of approximately 78 solar panels to provide three-phase power to the entire facility offering an average of 23,750 kilowatts per hour per month. It is expected that the reduction in energy costs associated with operating such a facility will significantly reduce energy costs thus allowing the organization to focus on expanding its programmes for the vulnerable communities they serve.

RISE Life Management Services is a non-governmental organization which was established in 1989. It provides community based educational and social services, life, social and vocational skills training and counseling services.  Approximately 5,000 individuals directly benefit from the services offered by RISE and the organization often operates as a community centre and safe haven for children and young people from surrounding inner-city communities.

Munro College

petrocaribe - munro collegeIn 1996, a 225KW wind turbine was installed at the Munro Wind Park, St. Elizabeth. The school benefited from a grant to rehabilitate the wind turbine through the Wigton Wind Farm Limited – Wind Energy Awareness Programme.

The wind farm at Munro College provides an opportunity for students of the college to participate in this pioneering step in Jamaica’s wind energy programme which is of national, historical and technological significance.

School Sanitation

Projects Implemented Under an MOU with the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF)

The partnership between the Fund and JSIF is facilitated through a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2011. Through this partnership, a Schools Sanitation Project was implemented which has to date benefited some 3,287 students from 28 schools across the island. The project provided for new sanitation blocks equipped with septic tanks, toilets, urinals and ramps to facilitate access by physically challenged persons. These facilities replaced pit latrines which long existed at the schools.

Additionally, 100 communal sanitary conveniences and showers in several inner-city communities in Kingston and St. Andrew, were built at a cost of J$200 million. These communities include: Denham Town, Tivoli Gardens, Hannah Town, Jones Town, Rose Town, and several communities in Central Kingston.

Youth Upliftment Through Employment (Y.U.T.E.)

An important partnership is with the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica for the implementation of the Y.U.T.E. Programme. Y.U.T.E. sought to increase access to employment through skills training and certification and career preparedness for unattached young people living in inner-city communities. The partnership supported training and certification and community-based opportunities to young people between the ages of 18 and 29 and has served 295 young persons through a contribution of J$20 million.

Jamaica 50 Scholarship and Merit Programme

The Fund contributed to the Jamaica 50 legacy programme by providing a J$209 million grant to establish a scholarship programme aimed at supporting the education of awardees at the secondary and tertiary levels.

Recipients had to demonstrate that they are of exemplary character with leadership qualities. They must also represent the aims of the scholarship programme which seeks to promote a generation committed to contributing meaningfully to national development. Upon completion of their studies, the tertiary level scholarship awardees will be required to work in Jamaica for a period of up to five years.

The Simon Bolivar Cultural Centre

The construction of the Simon Bolívar Cultural Centre in Downtown Kingston is intended to strengthen the cross-cultural links between the Caribbean and Latin America and aids in the re-establishment of Downtown Kingston (Parade) as the Cultural District of the city.

Simon Bolívar is a hero in much of Latin America and Hugo Chavez invoked his name for his Bolivian Revolution. It is anticipated that the Centre will open in 2014 and it will showcase art, artifacts, and other bits of culture representing the cross-cultural linkage.

The centre will also provide activities and programmes targeting young people.

Cuba: PetroCaribe is a Major Mechanism of Solidarity

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 10 (ACN)
Cuban government vice-president Miguel Diaz-CanelCuban government vice-president Miguel Diaz-Canel ratified in Caracas his country’s support of PetroCaribe regional program, a major mechanism of solidarity.

During a joint meeting of PetroCaribe and the Boliviarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America (ALBA), Diaz-Canel, who is also member of the Political Bureau of Cuba’s Communist Party, expressed the island’s support of the Continue reading