Lloyd Gumbo and Freeman Razemba
Green Fuel has increased its ethanol production to the extent of recording surplus of up to 2 million litres monthly, a development expected to stabilise fuel pricing in the country.
Mandatory blending ratio in Zimbabwe is currently at 15 percent ethanol to 85 percent unleaded amid indications that the local market requires about 6 million litres of ethanol per month to meet the demand.
The company’s electricity plant has also doubled its power generation to about eight megawatts with about four megawatts powering its operations, while the remainder goes to the national grid.
This emerged during a media tour of the plant in Chisumbanje on Thursday.
Green Fuel chief chemist, Mr Alick Mupariwa, told the media that the firm bought latest technology that saw it increasing efficiency and subsequently production.
“Now we are able to produce about 350 000 litres of ethanol per day, which gives us 8 million litres of ethanol per month of which at the moment, the industry only takes about 6 million litres,” said Mr Mupariwa.
“Our production has increased because last year around this time, we were producing about 280 000 litres per day. We acquired latest technology that has improved efficiency.”
Last year, Government temporarily reduced mandatory petrol blending from 15 percent to five percent due to low cane supplies owing to heavy rains received in the area.
But Mr Mupariwa said they had built adequate stock to take them through the rainy season.
He also said Green Fuel which, is a joint venture between Arda and Macdom and Ratings Investment owned by business mogul, Mr Billy Rautenbach had increased its electricity generation to about eight megawatts from four megawatts.
He said the ethanol plant only used about four megawatts while the other four megawatts went to the national grid.
However, the company has the capacity to produce 18MW.
Green Fuel assistant general manager Mr Raphael Zuze said: “Once the project is in its final stages and Condo Dam has been built, the plant will have the capacity to generate 86MW of electricity per day, as well as a further 40MW to be generated by hydroelectric power from Condo Dam.”
At the moment, there are 6 000 hectares of sugar cane in the ground at Chisumbanje and 3 500 hectares in Middle Sabi while there are plans to incorporate local A2 farmers and 47 leased farmers into the project in order to build a second ethanol plant in the area.
Mr Zuze said Green Fuel had developed over 1, 200 hectares of land for community farmers at a cost of about $10, 6 million.
“Of this, 250 hectares have been developed for war veterans and 410 hectares have been developed for local settler farmers who are currently participating in an out-growers scheme.
“The remaining 450 hectares have been developed for community farmers in line with Green Fuel’s commitment to developing 10 percent of all land under sugarcane for the community,” he said.
The company’s area training officer, Mr Vincent Moyo said of the 68 students, 33 were from Chipinge district under which Chisumbanje falls while 25 were from Manicaland and 10 from the rest of the country.
He said the students were composed of 12 females and 56 males with plans to increase the numbers of female students in future recruitments.