Loughborough University
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Loughborough University

Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST)

Ken Aldonza


Former CREST Master’s student, Ken Aldonza from St Lucia, scooped one of the coveted prizes in the IDEAS Energy Innovation Contest with his plan to turn waste banana products into energy.

The IDEAS Energy Innovation Contest is a joint initiative of GVEP International, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Korean Trust Fund (KPKF) and the German Development Cooperation (GTZ). It supports project ideas demonstrating an innovative response to tackling the energy challenges facing Latin America and the Caribbean today. Twenty-five winners were selected,

More than a thousand proposals were entered in the competition from 28 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The categories included renewable energy, energy efficiency and access to energy and entries were judged for innovation, financial sustainability and replicability. Twenty-five winners were selected, each winning two year grant funding of up to US$200,000 to develop their concepts. Among them was Ken and his banana ethanol project, which evolved from his Loughborough Master’s thesis,

Over the next two years, the IDEAS contest sponsors will work closely with the winners, providing technical advice and access to other experts, institutions and possible financial partners. The goal is to enable the winners to turn their idea into a commercially viable solution to the energy problems facing the region.

Richard Blanchard, Ken’s former tutor, was delighted and said, “I was so pleased to hear of this award. I was always very impressed with Ken as a student and his Master’s research project was excellent.  By producing ethanol from waste banana that would normally just rot Ken not only gets rid of a waste problem, but also creates a valuable product that reduces the amount of petrol St Lucia has to import for transport.  In addition, the process produces methane by anaerobically digesting the fermented banana waste that can then be used to provide heat for the fermentation and distillation of the ethanol.”

For more details of Ken’s project visit GVEP International: