Island Biodiesel was founded on the principles of sustainable living on an island economy, to solve an environmental and societal issue that was increasingly growing in the Cayman Islands. The Cayman Islands relies predominantly on imported diesel for power generation and boat transportation. However, the bulk of imported diesel is high-sulfur diesel due to the prohibitively high cost of import tariffs and transport costs, resulting in high emissions of hydrocarbons and sulfur that damages the precious marine environment. With a high reliance on fuel imports, the Cayman Islands is subject to the volatile global markets for diesel and this has resulted in the cost of living being increasingly unsustainable for many residents. Island Biodiesel collects waste vegetable oil (WVO) from restaurants and hotels on the island and converts it into clean biodiesel. The use of a recycled feedstock such as WVO reduces our carbon footprint and encourages a culture of recycling in the Cayman Islands by recycling a previously disposed waste and provides a cost-effective and cleaner alternative to petroleum diesel.
One of the co-founders, James McGinn, is a biomedical and mechanical engineer from Brown University who patented a maintenance-free carbon fibre wind turbine design to be used in wind energy farms in the United States. He brings his technical expertise to extract the highest quality biodiesel from the WVO as well as refining glycerin (a by-product of the biodiesel manufacturing process). The glycerin can be used in a variety of applications such as fish or cow feed, made into soaps for cleaning or a clean source of burning fuel (tiki-torches, lamps, etc.). One of the chief considerations for choosing biodiesel is the ability to co-exist with current infrastructure and does not require expensive or extensive modifications to existing diesel consumption systems in the Cayman Islands (unlike wind or solar energy).
The refined biodiesel is sold within the Cayman Islands – a sustainable energy source for the local power grid, infrastructure, land and sea transport around the island. The switch to cleaner biodiesel (compared to conventional gasoline or diesel) will reduce the pollution caused on the island; lowering the dependence on fuel imports and price fluctuations that follow it. We currently collect more than 85% of the WVO on-island and aim to collect from the cruise ships that dock in the Cayman Islands – doubling the total supply of WVO collected annually. The expansion of Island Biodiesel’s reach in the Cayman Islands would bring awareness to the importance of recycling, promote a culture of conservation and encourage sustainable development as the Cayman Islands expands to accommodate more visitors in the future.