Utilising renewable energy technologies in South America as a corporate & social responsibility instrument to benefit regional communities

Executive Summary

Through an iterative, research based approach it’s believed this report has successfully ‘drilled-down’ from a wide scale regional corporate social responsibility project (CSRP) remit to achieve focus on a far smaller scale renewable technology project that can substantially benefit poor Ecuadorean fishing communities in the long term. It’s believed that key PBOL CSRP criteria and themes have been fully addressed through the identified project which would enhance social, economic and environmental conditions to the benefit of the local community and country, as well improving PBOLs operating image. The CSRP involves investigating, installing and establishing a biomass fish wastes collection supply chain originating from small scale, nationally neglected artisanal fishing cooperatives, and then converting the wastes into saleable by-products. Financial returns for unused fish wastes and generated by-products will be donated directly back to these communities in order for them to alleviate absolute and fuel poverty cycles. A business model and positive cash flow forecast have been used to demonstrate the projects viability in the long term. It is hoped that governmental involvement in this project would allow the integration of small scale overfishing regulations and monitoring processes to be achieved, which can then be extended to a larger number of Ecuadorean fishing communities operating along the coastline, as well as potentially larger scale private fishing supply chains.


PB Oil Limited (PBOL) is a fictional oil corporation (key characteristics in Table 1) who have decided to invest in a renewable energy technology project as part of a CSRP initiative. A US$20million (nominal value 2017 assumed) budget expended over a five to ten year period is allocated to a selected project that fulfils a number of key criteria (Table 2), and delivers the maximum positive image impact and chance of succeeding. This report selects regional sub-divisions to ease appropriate project technology selection before then researching real world solutions and ranking them to finally focus on a single technology for the CSRP.


Table 1 – PB Oil Limited key characteristics


Table 2 – PB Oil CSR program key criteria

The CSRP initiative emphasizes PBOLs growing diversification into renewable energy technologies and is aimed at the household/community level. Importantly management would like the CSRP to address a number of themes (Table 3).


Table 3 – PB Oil CSR program key themes

The majority of today’s fossil fuel operators run their own CSRP’s with the tacit acknowledgment that their corporate activities at various locales does have impacts as a consequence of their presence. This report does not discuss the wider efficacy or politics behind oil company CSRP’s. The author however does believe that they can play a positive role at a community level if effectively organised and funded (see sample oil company CSRP’s in Appendix B).

Selected corporate regional overview

PBOL has a significant presence in the South American region through its Brazilian biofuel and oil production assets in Ecuador and Brazil. These countries would form a key focus for a future PBOL CSRP and elicit a noticeable in-country company image impact. Prior to final project selection however, potential CSRP’s have been researched outside of PBOLs operating countries as they may represent higher potential renewable technology projects – with a successful project potentially displaying a positive demonstration prior to any future country entry.

The map of South America in Figure 1 (Geology.com, 2007) outlines it’s fourteen national territories (Latin America and South Georgia/Sandwich Islands not included). The following summary of the region is taken from the National Geographic Society webpages (National_Geographic_Society, 2017) and intended to form the basis for identifying smaller, regional sub-divisions for more focused CSRP discussions. Regional social and economic data maps/tables were sourced from the US governments CIA fact book (Central_Intelligence_Agency, 2014) as collated on the IndexMundi website (IndexMundi, 2014) and accurate from 2011 to 2014.


Figure 1 – South American map projection showing national boundaries and major rivers

South America physical geography summary

South America (SA) has a quoted land area of 17.8million km2, with Brazil and Argentina contributing 48% and 16% respectively and Ecuador less than 2% (see Appendix B). The fourth largest continent can be roughly divided into three physical regions; the Mountains (Andes) and Highlands (Bolivian Plateau, Guyana, Brazilian), the dry Coastal Plains (Atlantic NE Brazil and Argentinian Pampas/Pacific Atacama desert and Peru coastline) – both running roughly north-south, and the River Basins (Amazon, Orinoco and Parana) running approximately east to west (Figure 2).

The continent is globally famous for a number of outstanding natural landscapes; the Andes are the world’s longest mountain range (8800km) that is still growing as a consequence of plate tectonics. The region has the world’s largest watershed; the Amazon River basin which is the life force to the planets largest rainforest – the Amazon. The Orinoco and Parana River basins are also vital water and energy sources.

The Koppen-Geiger climate classification (Figure 3) shows three dominant climate types across the region; split between tropical (60%), temperate (24%) and arid (15%) with Cold and Polar climates only occurring at the very southern continental tip (Peel, Finlayson, & McMahon, 2007). The continents high biodiversity range is unique among continents.


Figure 2 – Physical geography of SA (www.mapsoftheworld.com)


Figure 3 – Koppen-Geiger climate classification for SA (Peel, Finlayson, & McMahon, 2007)

South America social summary

South America has a diverse mix of modern, urban populations living in conurbations alongside rurally dispersed, smaller groups of culturally important agrarian communities and indigenous hunter gatherers like the Brazilian Tupi and Argentinian Guarani tribes. Catholicism dominates religious practices in most of the population as a hangover from 15th-17th century colonisation by mainly Spain; with Spanish the principle language spoken most widely. Colonial language legacies remained with Portuguese in Brazil, English in Guyana and Falklands, French in French Suriname and Dutch in Suriname.

The region largely emerged from violent, political dictatorships in the 1960-1980’s driven by the battle between democratic and communist ideologies. In more modern times there has been a political shift to more institutional control through various sectors nationalisation and their release from foreign held control with a heavily socialist, but economically damaging agenda. In 2007 for example Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez forcibly wrestled control of the last remaining foreign oil production sites in the Orinoco oil belt by decree, ending a process of nationalisation that began in 1976 (Wilpert, 2007). Similar fashionable policies of hydrocarbon nationalisation have occurred in Ecuador (BBC_Latin_America, 2010), Bolivia (Reel & Steven, 2006) and Argentina (Bronstein, 2012) emphasizing the commodities regional importance. Further nationalisation trickled down to other sectors too. Brazil is the regions exception – its state oil company is Petrobras, formed in 1954 and unlike post nationalised declining oil production seen in neighbouring countries, it is now the fifth largest energy company in the world after Fernando Cardoso in 1997 broke the national monopoly by inviting foreign hydrocarbon investment participation (Llana, 2012). Hydrocarbon exploration in the region is still highly active, with new discoveries offshore Guyana ( (ExxonMobil, 2017) and new cost effective shale drilling methods in Argentina (Foda, 2016) potentially set to impact national energy strategies.

Transparency International’s ‘Corruption Perceptions Index 2016’ (Table 4) gave the Americas (including North America) an average of forty four out of one hundred (figures below fifty indicate governments are failing to tackle corruption). The region is slowly evolving from traditionally high corruption levels, e.g. Operation Car Wash in Brazil (Schoenberg, 2016).


Table 4 – Transparency International corruption index 2016 (Laurie 2017)

According to the Walk Free Foundation who survey modern day slavery, the vulnerability to slavery and government responses to it (Global_Slavery_Index, 2016); forced labour and sexual exploitation issues are prevalent across SA with poverty a considerable motivating factor (Table 5).


Table 5 – Global ‘modern’ slavery index of SA countries (Global_Slavery_Index, 2016)

Important future regional issues include pressures on the social services by increasing urbanisation, increasing industrialisation’s environmental impacts (Amazon rainforest deforestation) and under investment in the poorest, rural indigenous areas. Key detailed social regional issue metrics are displayed in the following maps and tables, with Table 6 summarising the UK, European and South American averages for comparison.


Table 6 – UK, European vs SA averages of key social metrics (Laurie 2017)


Figure 4 – Infant Mortality Rate (deaths/1000 live births) – (Central_Intelligence_Agency, 2014)


 Figure 5 – Regional Populations (Central_Intelligence_Agency, 2014)


Figure 6 – Regional population density (Central_Intelligence_Agency, 2014)


Figure 7 – Life expectancy rate in years (Central_Intelligence_Agency, 2014)


Figure 8 – Regional literacy rate % (Central_Intelligence_Agency, 2014)


Figure 9 – Regional health expenditures as a % of GDP (Central_Intelligence_Agency, 2014)

South America resources & economic summary

Many natural resources are well suited to the regions tropical climate forming important exports like sugarcane, coffee and cocoa. Brazil is the world’s largest coffee exporter, with Columbia and Peru also being large regional exporters (WorldAtlas, 2017). Some communities are highly dependent on these cash crops for export income – natural phenomena like the ‘Witches Broom’ fungus reducing cocoa yields in 2000 (Bowers & Bryan, 2001) can have devastating effects, with Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Columbia and Venezuelan cocoa production now falling behind African competition (World_Atlas2, 2017). Temperate climates are well suited for growing corn and soybean used in biofuels, with pastures in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina supporting world leading beef exports. Forestry and fishing are key industries in Chile and Ecuador, with the former being the world’s leading farm raised salmon and trout exporter and the latter a lead shrimp exporter.

Mineral and hydrocarbon wealth is also huge in SA, with the continent containing one-fifth of the worlds iron-ore, one-quarter of known copper reserves mostly in Chile and Peru as well as tin, lead and zinc deposits in Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia. Venezuela has the highest volume of proven oil reserves in the world, albeit held in oil sands which are difficult and expensive to process with severe detrimental effects on the environment. Brazil’s 2005 discovery of offshore deep water oilfields also made it a major world oil player. Gas production and export provides the backbone of Bolivia’s economy with future plans to export gas powered electricity generation to neighbours (Wilson, 2015).

Hydroelectricity generation is a key feature of many economies; Brazil has the world second largest hydroelectric utilisation rate – generating seventy four percent of its electricity (Wheeler, 2012). The Itapúa Dam – the second largest in the world supplies one hundred percent of Paraguay’s electricity. Chile, Columbia and Venezuela are also important hydroelectric users.

Brazil possesses one of the world’s most integrated bioethanol vehicle fuel industries, derived from sugarcane waste products – the success of which is dictated by the price of competing subsidized gasoline imports (Gallas, 2015)/(Freitas, 2016).

It’s evident that established and new renewable technologies are being rapidly integrated into different countries by a clean energy revolution – with South America collectively producing fifty three percent of electricity from renewables in 2014 and diversifying further into wind, solar and geothermal energy sources with national governments tweaking regulations rather than offering clean energy subsidies (The_Economist, 2016). Table 8 displays existing electrical generation mixes (The_Shift_Project, 2014). Given Cold and Polar climate types only have a marginal continental presence, this report does not consider heat energy generation CSRP’s.

The following maps/tables compare economic metrics in the region, with Table 7 providing a UK and European comparisons.


Table 7 – UK, European vs SA average/sum comparison for key economic metrics (Laurie 2017)


Figure 10 – South American GDP per capita (PPP)/US$ (Central_Intelligence_Agency, 2014)


Figure 11 – SA population percentage below poverty line (Central_Intelligence_Agency, 2014)


Figure 12 – SA percentage of labour force unemployed (Central_Intelligence_Agency, 2014)



Figure 13 – Consumer price based inflation rates in SA (Central_Intelligence_Agency, 2014)


Figure 14 – Current Account balance (net trade in goods/services + net earnings to rest of world


Figure 15 – Electricity production (Billions kWh) in SA (Central_Intelligence_Agency, 2014)


Figure 16 – Electricity consumption (Billion kWh) in SA (Central_Intelligence_Agency, 2014)


Figure 17 – Electricity import (millions kWh) (Central_Intelligence_Agency, 2014)

Note – the difference between electricity produced/imported and that consumed/exported is due to transmission and distribution losses.


Figure 18 – Total oil produced (millions bbls/d) in 2012 (Central_Intelligence_Agency, 2014)


       Figure 19 – Total natural gas produced (Billions m^3) (Central_Intelligence_Agency, 2014)


Table 8 – Electrical generation energy mix by country (The_Shift_Project, 2014)

South America major environmental issues summary

There are a number of media highlighted key environmental issues ongoing. Deforestation, mainly of the Amazon rainforest from logging and clearing for cattle farming and cash crops is a critical concern for the planets climate and biodiversity (Figure 20). The impact is particularly an issue in Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. The rapid growth of beef farming in Brazil has caused species extinction, disruption to traditional communities and increases in CO2 and methane emissions (National_Geographic_Maps, 2005).


Figure 20 – Deforestation hotspots in SA (National_Geographic_Maps, 2005)

Droughts and a rebalancing of regional water budgets (Figure 21) have had a massive impact on a continent heavily reliant on hydroelectricity for power (isciences, 2016), as well as water resources and agricultural irrigation (telesurtv, 2016) such as Northern Argentina’s soybean harvest (Doherty, 2017). Whether this is a permanent climatic change feature or consequence of the periodic ‘El Nino’ effect is uncertain, however the potential remains for this phenomenon to persist and temperature changes to impact other industries like the Chilean Salmon farming (toxic algal bloom die-off in 2016 (Terazono, 2016)) and influence the over fishing of certain species like Anchovies offshore Peru (Oceana, 2016).


Figure 21 – Water balance redistribution (observed/forecast) across SA (isciences, 2016)

The region is also afflicted by natural disasters. The Andes mountain belt growth causes frequent earthquakes along its length in Columbia, Peru, Ecuador and Chile. In 2016, two hundred and seventy two people died in a magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Ecuador (Ellis, 2016). Wild fires in Chile linked to climate change were the worst in history in 2017 (Stone, 2017). In 2015 Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay witnessed their worst flooding for fifty years (BBC_Latin_America, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-35184793, 2015). These catastrophes place massive pressures on communities unable to adapt to a rapidly changing environment.

Regional program sub-divisions

Sub-region divisions were principally divided in line with PBOL’s CSRP goals (Table 2 and italicized criteria below) of installing renewable technologies that maximise a positive public image and have a high chance of success (CoS) given each countries current circumstances by identifying key development issues by region. Two overlapping sub-region pairings were selected; one to define the most appropriate renewable technology based upon physical resource, the other to identify the best sectorial applications given identified national development issues. Chosen renewable technology programs can therefore be foreseen to have the best chance of success through a firm need and proven resource foundation to ensure a project legacy beyond PBOLs funding period. Methodology;

  1. Ignored or High graded sub-regions;
    • Does the country possess an unworkably low corruption index (or appear at all), and/or poor response to modern day slavery indicating poor governance, or any other compelling reason to exclude it? This aids political and stakeholder support.
    • Does PBOL have existing operations in country? This would provide Leverage to draw in other funding potentially.
  2. General sub-region criteria ;
    • Is there a resource potential, leveraged against PBOLs existing renewable technology expertise to draw in other funding, i.e. solar, wind and biofuels that is more regionally appropriate, or is there another significant regional resource that could be commercially extracted, i.e. hydro or biomass?
    • What are the regional key development issue categories to which a CSRP would maximise benefits and improve lives/address poverty, identified against an UK/EU average target benchmark;
      1. Health (Infant mortality/Health expenditure/Life expectancy)
      2. Education (Literacy/Population below poverty line/Population)
      3. Environmental change (Deforestation/Catastrophes/Overfishing)
      4. Energy & Economy (Electricity mix/Inflation/budget deficit/unemployment)
  3. Final sub-regions were identified by tabulating each country versus their development issue category and most viable renewable resources. A fifth category was selected for a technology that could be applied universally, and a sixth created to high grade existing country operations.

A caveat with this approach is that each countries key identified issues are taken as a collective view across the population. In reality there will be an inequality of circumstance across a broad spectrum of a countries population, in which any of the regional CSRP’s may potentially be successfully applied!

Ignored or High graded sub-regions

Venezuela was excluded owing to the potential for negative media image impacts and the difficulty of undertaking business in a country with a high level of corruption and poor government response to slavery. The Falklands Islands had no corruption or slavery data available, and since sovereignty is still hotly disputed between Argentina and the UK it was ignored. Ecuador forms the corruption baseline acceptable to PBOL given its existing presence.

Brazil and Ecuador were high-graded as a sub-region since PBOL already operates there. The minimal data available on French Guyana lead me to couple it with its neighbour – Suriname.

Renewable resource potential sub-regions

The following five SA maps were used to define regional technology resource availabilities, each being largely a proxy for each countries physical geography characteristics. Table 9 then collates which countries would benefit from which resource technology. Geothermal energy, although utilized in Ecuador and Colombia was ignored due to large development capital investment constraints, as were offshore wind resources for the same reason. Marine energy was ignored due to its current uncommercial status.

The solar resource potential (Figure 21) – obtained from a ‘mean annual global horizontal irradiation’ map is relevant to photo voltaic cells direct and diffuse energy capture (AWS_Transpower, 2013). A mean annual GHI cut-off of 1500 kWh/m2 was used to high-grade solar regions, with latitudes south of 40°S and Ecuador only falling outside this solar sub-region.

Secondly wind potentials. Figure 22 highlights mean annual wind speeds at two hundred metres height across SA. A generic wind speed baseline of five m/s cut off was used to high grade regions and mimic small to medium turbines cut-in to full power requirements. Notably wind potentials in Highland areas, along most of the coastline and south of 40°S are high.

Thirdly – biofuels. Only those countries with existing large scale biofuel production were included (Figure 23). Brazil is the world’s second largest bioethanol producer using a sugarcane feedstock and a top biodiesel producer using mainly soybean (Zeman, 2009). Argentina is the world’s fourth largest biodiesel producer using soybean feedstock (Biofuel.org.uk, 2011).

Fourthly, hydroelectric potential through community micro-hydro. Figure 24 highlights modelled total average hydropower capacity potential (Meijer, 2012). Importantly the model assumes no man made depletion and normal climatic patterns which was not the situation in Bolivia in 2017 (Martinez, 2017) and may be a harbinger for future climatic patterns.

Finally biomass residue. This can provide an important feedstock for anaerobic digestion gas, biofuels or biomass CHP generation plants. Figure 25 highlights each countries key fishery (Glitnir, 2005), cattle farming (Cook, 2017) and forestry (Worlds_Riches_Countries, 2015) industries which could supply processed or waste biomass fuel sources. All populated conurbations across SA were assumed to potential sources of energy from waste (EfW).


 Figure 22 – Solar Technology resource from a SA solar irradiation map (AWS_Transpower, 2013)


Figure 23 – Wind technology resource from wind map@200m height (AWS_Transpower, 2013)


Figure 24 – SA biofuel production regions (Biofuel.org.uk, 2011)


Figure 25 – SA hydroelectric resource potential (Meijer, 2012)


Figure 26 – SA key natural export/usage product by country (Laurie 2017)


Table 9 – Countries listed by community renewable resource potential coverage (Laurie 2017)

Key development issues by country

It’s clear to see that across the region there is a wide diversity of development maturity. Table 10 below summarizes each country’s key collected development issues. Highlighted is the author’s subjective choice of category to focus on. As noted earlier a generic, less specific CSRP per category could potentially work equally well across all of the different country’s given an infinite budget and philanthropy!



Table 10 – Assimilated current key development issues on a country basis (Laurie 2017)

Final Sub-region selection

Finally, countries were assigned to one of five sub-regions, each coupled to available renewable energy resources (Table 11).

At this stage the decision was taken to drop a number of the resource types given PBOL’s project criteria and budget since they were unlikely to be suitable for a successful, small community scale commercial deployment;

  • Micro-hydro generation; the region already has an overdependence on fluctuating water resources for electricity. Given recent climatic patterns, it was deemed prudent to diversify the regions generation mix.
  • Biomass generation (forestry wastes); given deforestation is linked to unsustainable forestry practices, I have assumed PBOL would prefer to steer away from forestry waste biomass generation that could potentially create further revenue pathways.
  • Biomass generation (EfW); the potential for energy from waste is huge – especially in populous Brazil. However logistical issues of collection (only 62% of Brazilians have regular collections) and the processing of municipal wastes for such a small scale CSRP make the venture prohibitive; most Brazilian municipalities have waste management plans, however half dispose of junk in open areas called lixoes, less than 12% sort recyclables and organic composting is rare – MSW ends up dumped in vast landfills freely venting decomposing methane, picked over by scavenging catadores because of political disagreements on who pays for new systems (Utsumi, 2015). Peru’s national recycling programme claims to be the most extensive in the region with only 5% of all homes in major cities targeted! (Andina, 2015). Unsorted MSW generation technologies are available, but their large economies of scale would fall outside the CSRP’s scope, e.g. ENERGOS gasification plants (ENERGOS, 2017).


Table 11 – Final Sub-region selection vs. appropriate renewable resource (Laurie 2017)


Figure 27 – Final Sub Regions map (Laurie 2017)

Renewable Energy Technology projects shortlist

It is assumed that the company’s CSRP criteria set out on Table 2 will be achieved by this sub-region categorization method. It’s also important to focus upon the company’s key CSRP themes set out in Table 3 when designing projects in the shortlist;

  1. Targeting disadvantaged groups in the community
  2. Alleviating poverty types
  3. Improving communities adaptation to change
  4. Environmental remediation

Shortlisted project scale implicitly considered budget limitations; each technology was assumed to be commercial, scalable and modular to fit within the budget allowed. Detailed budget research was only conducted for the selected CSRP. The following gives a brief project description, with Table 12 identifying how they meet the company’s CSRP themes;

  • Sub-Region 1 (Health) in Brazil, Bolivia and Guyana. Reduce infant mortality (IMR) by providing an off-grid solar PV powered water purification treatment facility to isolated urban or rural favela communities lacking environmentally services access. Lack of clean water access and sanitation is acknowledged as one of the four prominent factors associated with high IMR’s (Sartorius & Sartorius, 2014).
  • Sub-Region 2 (Education) in Columbia, Suriname. Improve literacy rates and in turn reduce the percentage of people living below the poverty line by providing access to ICT educational facilities for children and adults utilize to learn, improve employment prospects and become more aware of the natural environments importance. Newly built or existing retro-fitted schools will be powered by Solar PV cells and equipped with ICT tools allowing internet and communication access. Pedagogical pilot implementation studies using mobile technology teaching do exist in the region (UNESCO, 2012), as well as global initiatives like the One LapTop Per Child program (OLPC, 2017).
  • Sub-Region 3 (Environmental Change) in Peru/Ecuador. Collect small scale artisanal pelagic and aquaculture fisheries waste from low income communities and demonstrate how converting discarded fish wastes into saleable by-products can financially benefit community cooperatives whilst promoting sustainable, more environmentally friendly fishing practices. The processing plant will be off-grid and power self-sufficient, with surplus green biodiesel freely given to power fishing vessel engines. Biodiesel is an alternative diesel engine fuel source that can be used with few engine modifications, in fact Rudolf Diesels original 1898 compression-ignition engine ran on peanut oil because whale oil was too expensive! (Tam, 2004). The scheme will economically support and cushion fishing communities prior to ‘El Nino’ period poor catches (Niquin, 2004) exacerbated by climate change, better regulate small scale overfishing (Salazar, 2012), provide new employment opportunities and reduce fossil fuel diesel emissions. Fish waste to biodiesel processing plants already exists at Aquafinica in Honduras (Biodisol, 2007), as well as a pilot study ENERFISH system in Vietnam which ran until 2011 (Piccolo, 2012).
  • Sub-Region 4 (Energy & Economy) in Chile/Argentina/Uruguay/Paraguay. Install medium scale wind turbines at remote, off-grid locations in a sub-region experiencing a large scale wind capacity installation boom (Azzopardi, 2015)/ (REVE, 2017)/ (Nordex, 2016). Given the sub-regions massive resource potential, existing weak grid systems and lack of foreign finance (Recaldi_et.al, 2015)/ (Hatzfeldt, 2013), as well as immature policies and acrimony between government and indigenous people’s land rights (IndigenousNews, 2011); the focal communities chosen were off-grid rural farming cooperatives. Cooperatives provide opportunities for poor people to raise incomes with wind turbines encouraging sustainable agriculture and combating climate change (Pinto, 2009)/ (USAID, 2013).
  • Sub-Region 5 (Universal) in all countries. Solar Powered emergency control centre for disaster deployment such as earthquake and flooding in a region highly prone to disasters and their knock-on economic and social impacts (World_Bank, 2012). The system can target any location and benefit every level of society, both rural and urban.


    Table 12 – CSRP projects and their relevance to PBOL CSRP themes (Laurie 2017)

Technology projects ranking using MCA analysis

Multi criteria decision analysis was applied (Communities/Local_UK_Government, 2009) to score, weight and then rank the projects. Costs were not included as an objective for simplification, each project was assumed to be capable of falling within budget depending upon scale. A single perspective was assumed, i.e. all projects would technically succeed. Qualitative performance criteria were mutually independent, with a utility (relative strength of preference) ‘best guessed’ and a probability assigned (likelihood of coherent consequences), prior to the summation of probability weighted utilities (reflecting relative utility) into five higher level objective groups each having a different importance weighting judged against PBOLs CSRP themes/criteria. A single sensitivity was run in the final ranked table – removing the priority weighting for existing ‘in-country’ operations and spreading the weighting equally amongst other objectives to interrogate each projects purely practical merit. Project objective categories included;

  1. PBOL; Does PBOL already operate in the country (30% wt.)
  2. Stakeholder support; What support and funding would be available (25% wt.)
  3. Chance of Success; What critical factors affect the CoS (25% wt.)
  4. Technical elements; Factors pertaining to the technical success of the project (10% wt.)
  5. Expertise; What available expertise is currently available commercially (10% wt.)

The following five tables (Tables 13-17) breakdown the logical reasoning for short listed project scoring, with Table 18 summarising the final weighted scores. Table 19 shows the results of a sensitivity case – ‘PBOL country operation’ criteria weighting changed from thirty to zero percent. Although scoring may have been subjective on my part, it was consistently so meaning final mark totals were all equally comparative.


Table 13 – Category 1 CSRP MCA analysis (Laurie 2017)


Table 14 – Category 2 CSRP MCA analysis (Laurie 2017)


Table 15 – Category 3 CSRP MCA analysis (Laurie 2017)


Table 16 – Category 4 CSRP MCA analysis (Laurie 2017)


Table 17 – Category 5 CSRP MCA analysis (Laurie 2017)


Table 18 – Final overall MCA score comparison (Laurie 2017)


Table 19 – Sensitivity to removing preferred country of operation criteria on MCA (Laurie 2017)

Selected technology project

The category three biomass fish waste to biodiesel CSRP had the highest final MCA score, however when the ‘in-country’ operation objective group was removed – the category four, wind turbine project prevailed because the project focused upon the most commercially mature technology in the most developed parts of the SA region. Selection of the biomass fish waste CSRP provided the highest potential benefits to all stakeholders; this included application within an existing PBOL operation country (Ecuador) and area of expertise (Biofuels). It is however acknowledged that it represents a relatively riskier technical CSRP.

Ecuador focused CSRP background

The following section is taken from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO, 2011). Ecuador’s main fishing industry is focused on catching and exporting tuna with one hundred & fifty nine fishing vessels employed, as well as one hundred and fifty two vessels involved in oily fish pelagic sardine, anchovy and mackerel fishing. Most is exported, with wastes sold as fishmeal to the countries world leading shrimp and tilapia aquaculture industry. Artisanal fisheries consist of sixteen to twenty two thousand smaller fishing boats landed at one hundred and thirty eight different sites. The main issues confronting Ecuadorean fisheries are;

    1. The required update to legal institutional frameworks
    2. Improving fisheries management
    3. Establishment of adequate training to extend technologies to small scale fisherman
    4. Improving small scale fisheries infrastructure
  • Promoting economic and social development of fishing communities
  • Improving facilities for the marketing of small scale fisheries

This CSRP focuses on helping to improve some of these issues, with a focus on Artisanal fisheries referring to small scale, non-commercial traditional operations with small capital outlays/vessels. Artisanal fisherman primarily fish to survive and have less overfishing impacts than commercial operations – however not all operations are that eco-friendly and they are largely unregulated. This CSRP is intended as a small scale demonstration of the economic and social benefits of fish waste conversion to biodiesel fuel and other saleable by-products, allowing smaller fishing community cooperatives to alleviate fuel poverty and relative poverty through a new income stream. This demonstration could be up-scaled and create alternative revenue streams for larger pelagic and aquaculture fisheries chains also, both of which generate a wide range of fish wastes (Figure 28). A coordinated approach with national fishing quotas at all scales would allow better adherence to regulations and reduce over fishing by realising more efficient business models.


Figure 28 – ENERFISH Fish waste processing system outputs/inputs model (ENERFISH)

ENERFISH fish waste to biodiesel technology

The transesterification conversion process is well understood; raw fish oil is separated out (Figure 29) from left over gut/wastes which constitute approximately fifty percent of the original catch by weight (Table 24 in Appendix B lists fish types by oil content). Extracted fish oil is then mixed with methanol and a catalyst to separate fuel from by-products yielding biodiesel and glycerol (Figure 30). Glycerol can be sold to pharmaceutical companies, some alcohol recycled and solid wastes crushed and sold as fishmeal. Biodiesel is purified by adding manganese, with one kilogram of fish waste able to produce one litre of cleaner burning biodiesel that can replace one hundred percent of traditional diesel in modern motors (AquaticBiofuels_FAO). The ENERFISH, Vietnam demonstration system is shown in Figure 31, at forty five tonnes per day of fish waste it ran self-sufficiently, with eighty one tonnes there was produced biodiesel surplus for sale (ENERFISH).


Figure 29 – Fish Oil separation process @Hiep Thanh Seafood, Vietnam (ENERFISH)


Figure 30 – Biodiesel fabrication process @Hiep Thanh Seafood, Vietnam (ENERFISH)


Figure 31 – ENERFISH PRESECO biodiesel processor 5800 system (ENERFISH)

Partnership and Beneficiaries

To ensure success there are a number of key public and private organisations that need involvement and endorsement of the project, including the ENERFISH Consortium themselves (Table 20). These organisations cover technology expertise, fishing community cooperatives integration and coordination, regional planning approvals for building and infrastructure, overall governmental fisheries resource coordination as well as grass roots social community planning.


Table 20 – Listing of necessary Ecuadorean partnerships and their responsibility (Laurie 2017)

Beneficiaries of the project are numerous. The main focuses for the fish wastes to saleable by-product transformation are small scale fishing community cooperatives. The project is intended to provide – an infrastructure for cooperative fish waste collection (assuming one does not currently exist), a facility to transform wastes to saleable by-products and mechanisms to sell by-products to local markets with all profits returned to community cooperatives after running costs are recovered, effectively valorising supplied fish wastes to alleviate high Ecuadorean relative poverty rates. Generated surplus wealth could also contribute to improving Ecuador’s low literacy rate through community education investments. Manufactured biodiesel will be used for plant powering, with surplus provided free to power community fishing vessels to relieve fuel poverty.

PBOL benefits include a national and regional level recognition of its ‘green image’ associated with contributing to the solution of recognised fishing industry weaknesses. PBOL may also benefit through growing their off-grid, power self-sufficient biomass technology expertise and through the qualification of UNFCCC administered Certified Emissions Reductions certificates via the Kyoto Protocol Clean Development Mechanism. At larger scales, private businesses and both aquaculture and pelagic fishing supply chains will be able to witness an alternative, greener and possibly more efficient business model for their own operations. Regional and national governments will observe a technology for combating community level poverty and could consider integrating the scheme into a wider sustainable fishing industry strategy to control overfishing and monitoring. The technology could also help the country develop a new fish waste to biodiesel production industry that could insulate the fishing sector from fish price export fluctuations by providing an alternative revenue source, and if subsidised the conversion of fossil fuel diesel generators to run on cleaner biodiesel for plant operations. By realising economies of scale, the technology may also be able to contribute towards national sustainable and renewable electricity targets by allowing industrial high energy consumers to recognise demand response management and reserve capacity agreements potentials.

Project development, scale and roll out

The initial step would be to conduct a feasibility study following the general structure laid out in similar European based country evaluations (Figure 32), with the ultimate aim of identifying specific, operational and economically viable systems siting locations along the Ecuadorean coastline (ENERFISH_Consortium, 2008).


Figure 32 – ENERFISH process feasibility study steps (ENERFISH_Consortium, 2008)

Viable brownfield site locations with a water supply would dictate system scaling, with location also heavily influenced by the quantities of nearby fish wastes available for collection, existing fisheries supply chain agreements, seasonality of fish catches and the types of pelagic/aquaculture wastes available. System flexibility on sizing could be incorporated by configuring a system similar to that in the Vietnam demonstration project (PBP 5800 system; 80 tonnes fish waste per day) or a smaller micro refinery system (PBP 200; <5 tonnes per day). It is impossible pre-feasibility study to evaluate the optimum system scaling best suited to this CSRP, initially however costs and scaling have been assumed for numerous smaller PBP200 systems given the artisanal focus (ENERFISH_Consortium, 2008).

The roll out plan would consider a phased approach and seek public planning approvals on this basis prior to any capital outlays. An initial ENERFISH pilot system would be constructed at the optimum feasibility study location once community fish waste supply and revenue/biodiesel community feedback agreements were in place. Following successful business model demonstration at this single site and once important lessons on the systems workability and financing gathered, further budget capital could be committed to other suitable community sites using a modified and more efficient construction and financing model. The initial system will use ENERFISH Consortium expertise to build and operate, successive plants however could progressively employ more home nationals to expand the systems local expertise and ensure a long term legacy.

CSPR business model

Fish wastes competition and pricing originate from the human food industries use of fish oils, and the pharmaceutical (glycerine) and aquaculture (fishmeal) industries with only the latter market being known to exist in Ecuador currently. Economic modelling of ENERFISH like processes shows it best suited to niche markets where fish wastes are not valorised and/or where there is no organised fuel supplies, with biodiesel sales more profitable than electrical generation (Ronde, Ranne, Peirano, Byrne, & Le Duc, 2013).

It’s believed that this niche market exists for small scale artisanal Ecuadorean fishing and aquaculture. This CSRP introduces a green, off-grid power self-sufficient conversion system running off its own biodiesel generators. The business model allows fishmeal for aquaculture and glycerol sales to generate a plant income to cover operating expense recovery and generate a profit that can be exchanged with communities for supply of their fish waste. Produced biodiesel system surplus would be freely supplied to communities for their fishing vessels to alleviate fuel poverty, as well as sold to local businesses. A new local glycerine sales market would need to be developed. The symbiotic exchange of biodiesel and by-product revenue for community fish wastes is key to the projects future success post PBOL funding guarantee departure (unless sold as a subsidised public Utility). In the absence of small scale artisanal fishing support initiatives, policies or subsidies; PBOL would provide initial funding guarantees for a number of these demonstration supply system chains to be built, established and operated.

Post PBOL funding, it would be contractually ensured with the new private owner/operator that the plant would continue to supply free community biodiesel and a portion of revenues in exchange for fish wastes, whilst maximising operating incomes through power self-sufficiency and fishmeal, glycerine and unallocated biodiesel sales. Plants could be privately sold if demonstrated to be profitable, or publicly donated if unprofitable but shown to provide a public social good at the end of the PBOL funding period; hence no decommissioning costs are considered. Table 21 displays a conceptual single PBP200 system discounted cash flow and NPV calculation, based upon ENERFISH research data (ENERFISH_Consortium, 2008) and available by-product prices (Fishmeal price based upon Peruvian index, Glycerol Chinese prices and Ecuadorean diesel prices). Table 21 also itemizes all practical and numerical assumptions used to generate the cash flow forecast with assumptions staying fixed for the ten year duration.


Table 21 – Conceptual PBP200 unit cash flow ENERFISH system with assumptions (Laurie 2017)

The regions high aquaculture fishmeal prices, but low Ecuadorean diesel market prices would make it unlikely that a cultural shift to biodiesel production from fish waste would occur at larger scales given relative by-product prices at present. However, future diesel price subsidising by the government may change.

Fish waste financial returns to communities have been demonstrated (Table 21). Community fish wastes reimbursement would vary with system dynamics and by-product prices but would equal annually the balance of system payments, i.e. a neutral project NPV (Table 21) and zero profit return to PBOL. PBOL budget financing would be used for establishing and maintaining the new systems. The cash flow model includes free biodiesel supply to communities also.

Post PBOL funding, the system could attract private and/or public legacy funding given the positive cash streams. The business model allows additional PBP200 micro refining sites to be set up at other viable brownfield locations by PBOL within the CSRP ten year period and $20M budget, with time and success rather than project financing constraining the projects expansion.

Technology SWOT analysis

A Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat analysis (Table 22) was conducted to simplify complex project processes and identify key features that the success of the project objectives depends upon. The CSRP’s strengths and opportunities are thought robust enough to merit further investigation of the projects viability. Further mitigation investigations for technological, logistical, economic and political weaknesses and threats through commercial, local, regional and national stakeholder consultations would be a necessity prior to any PBOL project funding approvals.


Table 22 – Ecuadorean Fish Waste to By-Product CSRP SWOT analysis (Laurie 2017)

Final discussion

It is believed that a team effort through discussion and collaboration, rather than an individual author approach to CSRP research and identification would significantly enhance the project viability and efficacy in a real world situation. The project and business model identified is thought to be a viable solution concept to the problems faced by small scale fishing communities; poverty caused by poor rewards from larger supply chains, government investment neglect and over fishing along Ecuador’s coastlines. The financial modelling shown is open to commodity price uncertainties and market demand fluctuations making it indicative only, but encouraging prompting the need for a more complete analysis. The project would be particularly applicable to neighbouring Peru as well as other South American countries with coastlines supporting small, neglected artisanal fishing communities like Brazil.



Appendix A: Assumptions & Further Notes


    • Budget – The $20M allocated to the project is assumed to be in money of the day terms with first project initiation and spend happening in 2017.
    • Timing – All research, financing and geographical/political/economic situational settings were based upon the current time, i.e. 2017 onwards.
    • Human Resources – The availability of renewable technology personnel, local labour and community cooperative representatives was not used as a limiting constraint.
    • Renewable Energy Resources – Energy resources available in South America are assumed to persist throughout the PBOL project period and beyond.
    • Renewable Technology Support – All commercial contracting technology firms were assumed to be compliant and willing to take part in PBOLs CSRP with no limiting factors on equipment supply, maintenance, operation and long term leasing/purchasing.
    • Government Support – Given the positive altruistic intent of a CSRP in any of the countries, it is assumed that National and Regional support would be forthcoming to support a successful project outcome. This includes land leasing agreements, planning approvals, community contractual agreements, final facility sale agreements etc.….
    • PBOL Support – The report is intended to present to Senior Management the most viable CSRP strategy, and in turn receive acknowledgement and full support for project go ahead given the iterative approach to final project selection.
    • Community Support – Local support and PBOL CSRP involvement is assumed to be a prerequisite. A free scheme to improve local community’s standard of living should be readily accepted by the communities and NGOs approached.

Appendix B: Support Material

Similar size oil companies CSR program example links;

Support data;


Table 23 – South American land area break down (Central_Intelligence_Agency, 2014)


Table 24 – Fish species and their Omega-3 fatty acid content (Piccolo, 2012)

Appendix C: Project Task Sheet

Development Appraisal A11DA

Renewable Energy Development

The Scenario

You have been employed by an oil corporation (PB Oil ltd1) to help PB incorporate a renewable energy strand into their next Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy. This would run parallel to the company’s small but growing portfolio of alternative energy projects2. This is part of part PB’s long term strategy for what CEO Leo Shuckleburger describes as the “post-petroleum economy”.

The Task

PB is structured into global divisions and accordingly you have been asked to focus your efforts on one specific global region (Europe, SE Asia, South America, Africa or Pacific Islands). The PB Board has agreed that it wants to use renewable energy4 technologies as a way that promotes a positive image of PB. This initiative is focused on renewable energy technologies at the household or community level to address the following themes:


  • Social or environmental injustice: this may target disadvantaged groups defined by ethnicity, geography or gender by improving environmental services and equality of access to these services
  • Poverty: targeting absolute poverty, relative poverty (income distributions) or fuel poverty
  • Community resilience: improving the ability of communities to avoid or adapt in order to address economic, social or environmental challenges.
  • Environmental remediation and climate change: projects which contribute to environmental improvement at the local, regional or global level. A budget up to $20m has been earmarked for this to be spent over a period of 5-10 years. The PB board would like you to priorities projects that will have maximum impact and maximum likelihood of success. Key criteria include the following:
  • Political and stakeholder support on the ground
  • Legacy – how to ensure the project has a life beyond the period of funding
  • Leverage –potential to draw in other funding
  • Maximising PB’s public profile in a positive light
  • Maximising benefits – improving lives, addressing poverty.
  • Identifying projects with high likelihood of success

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