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TAMMY GROVES

MY PERSONAL STATEMENT
My passion for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development was stumbled upon by chance. As the Process Engineer at Soapberry Wastewater Treatment Plant (WwTP) energy consumption was an obvious issue for operations. The Plant has the capacity to treat 75,000m 3 of wastewater per day using high energy input pumps throughout the process, resulting in an approximate energy consumption monthly of 50,000 Kwh. It had become glaringly evident that striking a balance between efficient wastewater treatment and energy consumption is difficult, if not downright impossible, at least in Jamaica. I was given the task to research algae-energy conversion because Soapberry WWTP treatment process uses algae in the secondary stage of the treatment process and this was the direction that was being explored and gaining momentum globally. It was during my research that I really understood the implications on a national level and that the problem was not exclusive to the wastewater industry but common to every aspect of living in Jamaica. Jamaica is somewhat a unique situation, we are energy intensive economy using approximately 60,000 barrels of fossil fuel oil per day, we have no indigenous source of fuel oil (therefore 90% of our oil is imported) and our power company is ran by a monopoly. Currently we have a renewable energy mix of 9% and a goal for 20% by 2030. It is my belief we have many options in terms of renewable energy including solar power, waste to energy conversion, biofuel, wind and hydro farms. The implementation of these options is crucial to our growth and development. It is my belief that we are on the right track to exploiting our renewable resources but quite frankly we lack the vision and in some cases the knowledge to execute these initiatives successfully. A scenario which is quite common to Jamaica is that most times we adopt technology which is being promoted internationally but is not appropriate for our country and hence unsustainable. It is my hope in pursuing this masters degree in Sustainable Engineering that I will gain the exposure to the global technology and most importantly the perspectives of the international community. Quite frankly I have adapted the sentiment of thinking globally, assess regionally and act locally. I would love to gain the knowledge necessary to help in circumventing these technical mistakes and propel our development.
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TAMMY GROVES

The algae to energy conversion have become my pet project and a full scale pilot project is to be launched during the 2nd half of 2012. The potential seems endless for unlike many research programmes previously, Soapberry has numerous advantages based on its design and this makes implementation more economically feasible than previous algal biofuel research. The thought of being able to produce clean fuel on a commercial scale and ultimately ending the sacrifice of the environment for development is incredibly appealing. My research in algal biofuel actually initiated many side projects since the algal biofuel requires more extensive research. Alternatives being explored as a solution to Soapberry WwTP energy situation include a 1 MW solar plant which would supply the plants needs and also generate income by selling the excess energy to Jamaica Public Service (JPS); the nations main provider of electricity. The viability of this project is unquestionable since Jamaica is ranked thirteenth among some of the major countries in the world for having the most sunshine. This is equivalent to an insolation of 5.97kWh/m2/day (measure of solar radiation energy on a given surface at a given time). Solar powered plants are such a viable initiative that Solamon Corp, a Canadian based company has decided to invest 450 million USD in building the largest solar plant (60 MW) in the Caribbean in Jamaica. Another alternative which is being explored include waste to energy plant since Soapberry is within close proximity to the largest dump site in Jamaica, thermal conversion technologies are being considered and the plant is being considered for more of a commercial venture. My knowledge so far in Renewable/Alternative energy and the associated technology has so far been gained while on the job. I have attempted to supplement this by attending renewable energy seminars, researching and keeping up to date with the latest technological trends in the industry. Presently the University of the West Indies is hosting a 12 series lecture titled The ClimateEnergy Nexus (Call to Action Lecture Series) which I have religiously attended. My Bsc. in Biochemistry has afforded me the privilege of being able to explore several fields within the sciences, but I have always yearned for a specialist area, something that would not have made me a jack of all trade but a master of an area. It has taken me years to figure out which area this is. However, now I can honestly say that the area of Renewable Energy is one for which I am passionate, and also believe will make for a successful career. Thankfully, the transition will be
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TAMMY GROVES

smooth because not only have I been learning in the field, but I do have a background in physics and electronics which has been invaluable to my comprehension of the area. This decision to pursue a Masters in Sustainable Engineering with the University of Maryland was not a decision that was taken lightly. I did my research and this programme was the most appropriate for what I wanted to pursue professionally. My preparation for graduate school has been a long time coming, actually seven years to be exact. I have excelled at literally every area I have entered professionally which has resulted in my advancing to the point where I am now an integral part of the management team in Wastewater Operations and Management Company, the operators of Soapberry WwTP. And even though I have excelled so far, It has never been my dream to settle for a 9 to 5 job, no matter how cushy it is, and as always I have strived to push beyond any boundaries that have been set and it was out of this mentality my own Commercial Janitorial Company, Clean Services Integrated Jamaica was born. I believe that if there is any one challenge in life that builds character, discipline, endurance and patience is managing ones own business. For with success comes the failure but for every milestone achieved it has been worth it so far. And it is with conviction I can say that like with every goal I have pursued in my life I will be as equally dedicated to my studies at the University of Maryland, therefore it is my hope that I will be considered worthy of the Masters in Sustainable Engineering programme.