Ethanol soon from sweet potatoes


Added 27 November 2012


A plant to produce ethanol from sweet potatoes is in the pipeline, according to Dr Leroy McClean, chief executive officer of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC). Without providing details, he said, “I have a Chinese company . . . awaiting a response from me that can build a turn-key operation to make ethanol from sweet potatoes. And it is only going to cost about US$600 000 to build it . . . . This is something which can be useful to Barbados. So I searched for a company which can produce the plant and got all of the information; schematics for the plant.” McClean said all that was required now was to acquire the investment. His comments came during the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association (BMA) quarterly business-to-business networking session at Harris Paints’ corporate office last Wednesday night. McClean was highlighting some of the plans he had for the BIDC as its newly appointed chief executive officer. He said that based on research, sweet potatoes yield more ethanol than corn and the tuber root crop took 12 to 15 weeks to mature, with less maintenance than required for sugar cane – although sugar cane gave a slightly higher yield of ethanol. He added that the BIDC was adopting a “farm-to-factory theme” in an effort to marry the agriculture and manufacturing sectors and grow them both. “What I am saying is, here is a crop that can boost our agricultural sector . . . instead of planting one field of sweet potatoes on a plantation you can plant, let’s say, 50 acres, which will help to control the weeds in the field. “You will therefore make it more economical to produce the same sugar cane. You will now have greater efficiencies in the whole process and agriculture will become a more viable exercise,” explained McClean. (MM)


Dos and Donts

Welcome to our discussion forum here on We encourage lively debate, but we also urge you to take note of the following:

  • Stay on topic – This helps keep the thread focused on the discussion at hand. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.
  • Be respectful – Meeting differences of opinion with civil discussion encourages multiple perspectives and a positive commenting environment.
  • Do not type in capitals – In addition to being considered “shouting” it is also difficult to read.
  • All comments will be moderated – Given the volume of comments each day, this may take some time. So please be patient.
  • We reserve the right to remove comments – Comments that we find to be abusive, spam, libellous, hateful, off-topic or harassing may be removed.
  • Reproduction of comments – Some of your comments may be reproduced on the website or in our daily newspapers. We will use the handle, not your email address.
  • Do not advertise – Please contact our Advertising Department.
  • Contact our Online Editor if you have questions or concerns.
  • Read our full Commenting Policy and Terms of Use.
comments powered by Disqus




Show able-bodied people be fined for using parking spots intended for disabled people?

Don't know