The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) group through its IDB Lab, Natural Capital Lab, Sustainable Islands Platform and in alliance with the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility, is pleased to announce that five proposals were selected to initiate project design under the Blue Tech Challenge in the following countries: Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Haiti and St. Lucia.
The Blue Tech Challenge, which launched in September 2018 and closed for applicants on November 30, 2018, aimed to identify business models that apply new technologies or solutions to foster long-term sustainability of the ocean economy in 14 target countries: Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Fifty applications were submitted by persons or groups in 12 of the 14 target countries, with proposals focusing on a range of topics – such as recycling, pollution, sargassum reuse, marine exploration, clean energy and coral restoration, among others. The applications were evaluated by criteria such as degree of innovation, degree of social and environmental impact, scalability potential, financial sustainability and viability of execution. An internal due diligence process to evaluate the capacity of the applicant entities was conducted by IDB specialists, and members of a Blue Tech Advisory panel from the University of West Indies, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), MIT Media Lab, National Geographic, Surfing Tsunamis, Althelia Ocean Fund and IDB invest reviewed the applications.
The selected entities will initiate project design for their financing and/or technical assistance proposals to pilot their blue economy model in one of the five mentioned countries. These selected entities are now part of the IDBG network of global innovators working in the region and poised to exchange knowledge, expertise, best practices and with ample opportunities to participate in IDBG’s relevant regional networking events.
Below are brief descriptions of the proposals selected:
Applicant entity: Clean Marine Group Limited
Clean Marine’s “MARPOL1 Port Reception Facility” in Freeport, Grand Bahama utilizes new and innovative patented technology to break oil and water emulsions and process contaminated water. With a capacity to process in excess of 50 million gallons of waste from cruise ships and other commercial vessels every year, the facility will now be expanded to receive up to 200 million gallons per annum.
Applicant entity: Ten Habitat Inc.
“Totally Traceable Tuna: Technology & Blockchain Enhancement of the Barbados Tuna Supply Chain for Export” aims to improve traceability of the tuna supply chain and enhance product quality with advanced testing. It will employ a combination of technologies which include portable histamine testing, electronic radio-frequency (RFID) tags, quick response (QR) code tags and scanning devices to develop better handling methods and collect information about the journey of a tuna at various points along the supply chain.
Applicant entity: Oceana
“Market-based Incentives for Sustainable Fishing” connect Belizean fisherfolk with buyers throughout the country searching for sustainable seafood products through a virtual marketplace and a mobile application.
Applicant entities: Environmental Cleaning Solutions S.A. and Pan American Development Foundation
“Ayiti Blue Ocean Plastics Solution” aims to collect, recycle and transform ocean-bound plastics into high-value synthetic lumber by combining technology (drone mapping, fingerprint identification and lumber production) and community mobilization. It will turn single-use ocean-bound plastics into a value-added commodity after discarded.
Applicant entity: Algas Organics
“Convert Sargassum Seaweed from Problem to Industry” will scale up a proprietary extraction technology/process, which converts sargassum seaweed into world class organic bio-fertilizer for export to the global market.