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Playa del Carmen to test special equipment to turn sargassum into fuel

Playa del Carmen, Q.R. — German made equipment will be used this year to turn Playa del Carmen sargassum into fuel. Lourdes Várguez, the Secretary of Sustainable Environment and Climate Change, says the equipment will be tested to take advantage of the municipality’s unwanted seaweed.

Várguez says the sargassum will be used beyond soil fertilizer, which is what is it mostly being converted into now by a local company.

She says tests with the specially designed equipment will allow them to take advantage of the sargassum as a source of fuel and carbon. While she did not provide details on the equipment or the project itself, she did say that the innovation represents a significant effort to address the sustainably problem by finding useful applications for this abundant resource.

“Currently it is used as a soil fertilizer, but this year we hope to go one step further,” she said.

The manual collection of seaweed employs around 180 people a year in Playa del Carmen. Photo: Ayuntamiento de Solidaridad

To comprehensively address the challenge of sargassum from its collection to its use in various applications, the municipal government seeks initiatives for the use of seaweed as an important step toward environmental sustainability in Solidaridad.

The collected sargassum is trucked to a site where sand is recovered and returned to municipal beaches. Photo: Ayuntamiento de Solidaridad

The 2024 sargassum season is expected to be comparable to last year when 26,400 tons was collected and more than 13,000 tons of sand recovered and returned to municipal beaches.