Fuel developer, Benchmark Renewable Energy Company, says it will invest USD$95-million or just under JMD$12-billion in the construction of a large scale bio-ethanol plant in the island by next year.

The project, which was announced today by JAMPRO, is set to create 140 direct jobs and another 500 indirect jobs.

The plant will have an initial capacity of 10-million gallons of ethanol fuel per year and generate 3-megawatts of excess electricity which it will deliver to the national grid.

The plant will also produce 500,000 gallons of aviation jet fuel per year and 60,000 gallons of desalinated water each day.

The plant will be built on 300 hectares of land to grow and harvest sweet sorghum.

Sweet sorghum is a drought-tolerant feedstock with the potential to produce more ethanol per acre than corn.

Ethanol derived from Sorghum juice is cheaper to produce than corn ethanol because it doesn’t require the cooking and enzymes that corn requires for conversion to fuel grade alcohol.

Benchmark Renewable, a Florida based company, hopes to increase its capacity to 20-million gallons of ethanol in the first few years of operation.

The company’s Chief Financial Officer, Juan Briceno, says the principals chose Jamaica due to the country’s experience with large scale sugar production.

The President of JAMPRO, Dianne Edwards, says this new investment is one of many upcoming energy projects that will support Jamaica’s status as the leading producer of renewable energy in the Caribbean.