Nopalimex Eyes Sargassum as a Source for Light and Fuel

The company has patented a process to produce clean energy with the macro-algae to generate electricity and biogas for vehicles.

The arrival of more than five thousand tons of sargassum per month, stagnating on the Mexican Caribbean beaches, has maritime specialists considering the macro-algae one of the greatest natural pandemics of the era. However, for others, like Miguel Aké Madera, it represents an opportunity to produce clean energy.


Aké Madera is the founder of Nopalimex, a company that began focussing on the creation of fuel from nopal (cactus) biomass. In 2019, they began experimenting with sargassum and have already received a patent for their method of processing the macro-algea.

“The sargassum tests were a success. There were surprising results to generate heat and fuel energy, which for Quintana Roo and its touristic centers Tulum, Cancun, Xcaret, is a great opportunity ”, he indicated.

The process of transforming waste into energy begins with cleaning the sargassum, which naturally contains a lot of sea salt. The salt makes it difficult to achieve anaerobic bio-digestion which then begins at the end of the washing process.

With the capacity to produce 12 million cubic meters of biogas per year, the bio-digestor of Peribán, Michoacán, can supply fuel to two thousand vehicles per day. At about 12 pesos per liter, this would be far less expensive than diesel fuel. The next goal is to adapt already established bio-refineries near the beaches of Campeche, Yucatan and Quintana Roo so as to avoid building new plants.

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So far, several businessmen of Cancun have raised their hands and showed interest in the project. However, permitting is still in process. Currently, the biogas generated with nopal and avocado can be purchased at the Michoacán plant, where there is a filling station.

“It is not only biodiesel, it can also generate electricity and that would help to solves the problems with electricity along the Riviera Maya,” he insisted.

The mission of Nopalimex is to be the pioneer Mexican company in the field of renewable energies, in the generation of gas and electricity from nopal biomass, gradually replacing fossil fuels for transportation, with respect for the environment, with cleaner production technology and clean development mechanisms, with innovative technology and generating jobs in the field and in the country.

The company’s vision is to position itself as the leading company at national and international levels, in the field of renewable energies, providing companies that require energy; consulting, design and construction of biogas generating plants, electric energy and fuel for transportation, from nopal, with zero emission of pollutants, creating environmental, economic and social benefits for Mexico and contributing in the fight against climate change.

Source: Heraldo Mexico