In pursuit of achieving self-sufficiency in energy, the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona is making plans to make a switch towards liquefied natural gas (LNG). Dr Paul Aiken, Deputy Dean and Director of the Mona School of Engineering in the Faculty of Science and Technology, told JIS News that thy hope to start producing electricity for itself from LNG by July 2018.
“We have to find ways to reduce our operational cost,” he said, indicating that the bill comes to over $700 million annually, with 45% of that bill noting that 45 per cent of the university’s energy is used for cooling, with the bill coming to over $700 million annually.
He said that the process of using LNG combined with heat and power plant will be their solution to reducing this damning cost. Dr. Aiken also shared that the university’s move towards energy self-sufficiency will also present an opportunity for a new generation of electrical power engineers to gain some experience on the process. The LNG plant, which will be managed by Mona-Tech Engineering Services, will present internship spots for students enrolled in the Electrical Power Engineering degree programme.
“There is a lot of investment in LNG technology in Jamaica, and so they will need well-trained and knowledgeable engineers to operate the LNG plants,” he highlighted.
According to Dr. Aiken, the first cohort of electrical engineers will be students that are currently in their final year, with approximately 194 applicants who signed up for the programme this year.
“The university is graduating 75 engineers this year, which is nowhere close to the 1,000 that is required (for the industry),” Dr Aiken said.
The necessary skills for being successful in the natural gas industry include electrical, electronics and computer systems engineering. The engineering faculty director encourages persons to consider the engineering field as a viable career path.