The Caribbean is as super-rich as the Middle East

July 3, 2023 11:32 am

by Cdr.Bud Slabbaert

Just like in the Middle East, it is all about fuel. But no drilling in the Caribbean! No way, José! Pumping? Yes! Pumping seawater and the islands are actually swimming in it. This is no joke or dilly-dally. Oh no! As the emperor of France once said, ’Not tonight Josephine’. This is serious business. The Caribbean communities could flourish. Islands swimming in the seawater will not be the same as island swimming in money, however, there is a solution that has the potential for success on a scale ambitious enough to completely alter the economies of the region.

What is this mystery solution? Researchers at universities in the USA, Australia, the Middle East, and China have proven beyond any doubt that seawater can be turned into hydrogen fuel by splitting the oxygen from hydrogen in water. Remember the two elements of water H2 and O? Let’s not go into the chemical biddly-boo of how it is done. The curious and pathological snoopy noses can look it up and they will become convinced advocates for replacing fossil fuel with hydrogen fuel.

What is so special about using hydrogen? No carbon footprint and the exhaust is colorless, odorless, non-toxic, and surprisingly is simply water. Hydrogen has the highest energy content of any common fuel measured by weight.

Who needs it? Almost any engine that is driven by fossil fuel (gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, etc.) can be powered with hydrogen. The automotive and aviation industries are already actively moving to make changes and promise a better tomorrow. The Caribbean is the world’s region that is most dependent on aviation. Cruise and container ships may eventually use hydrogen fuel produced in the Caribbean. Hydrogen can also be used to generate electricity. Just think of the stationary power plants in the Caribbean, no more fuel imports but rather using their own seawater hydrogen energy. It doesn’t need a large refinery at one privileged central location in the region. The generator unit can be small enough to fit any island size. Theoretically, beach resorts could have their own.

Capital investment in this new energy sector will have a sustainable generous return on investment. Cost savings for users can be significant. It can be an export product for a Caribbean island that thus far had little to nothing to export and had to deal with an import/export deficit. It can contribute to economic diversification. Considering that 70% of the Earth’s surface is water, one would tend to say that supply will be available for another million years.

Most important of all, it will have a positive impact on the environment. Green and carbon-free. With the academic findings currently available it would not be necessary to do another heavy-duty study whether there is an opportunity for the region. The whole world is looking for an eco-friendly solution. This one will cut every excuse ever used for failing. And all marketers agree that money is made by selling solutions. This solution should make any insightful Caribbean politician or entrepreneur jump through hoops. It needs neither courage nor conviction to fall in love with it.

Maybe one Caribbean Island government might consider creating a research institute for hydrogen fuel development. Innovative products always need improvement or adjustments. The winner is usually the one who has foresight and is the fastest and smartest. Possibly even a leadership position. Just imagine the world can be fueled by energy from paradise. Filling it up with ‘Caribbean Grade One Plus’ sounds even better than filling it up with ‘Zero Emission Something’.