Scramble for Zim ethanol

President Mugabe welcomes Tanzanian People’s Defence Forces Chief General Davis Adolf Mwamunyange while Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi looks on in Harare yesterday.

President Mugabe welcomes Tanzanian People’s Defence Forces Chief General Davis Adolf Mwamunyange while Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi looks on in Harare

Takunda Maodza recently in CHISUMBANJE—-
SOME Sadc countries are scrambling for Chisumbanje ethanol as the world embraces environmentally-friendly fuels amid indications that South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia and Malawi have approached Green Fuel with a view to sealing deals. This comes barely a week after Zimbabwe raised its ethanol blending ratio with petrol to 10 percent, with  indications the figure will gradually  increase.
Zimbabwe uses 1,5 million litres of petrol daily and with such a blending ratio of 90 percent, unleaded petrol and 10 percent ethanol, it means only 150 000 litres of ethanol will be used out of over half a million litres produced daily.

Green Fuel, which runs the Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant, is a joint venture between the Agricultural Rural Development Authority, Macdom Investments and Rating.

In an interview on the sidelines of a tour of Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant by Tanzanian People’s Defence Forces chief General Davis Adolf Mwamunyange on Wednesday, Green Fuel general manager Mr Graham Smith said other countries were after the ethanol.

“We have been approached by Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana and South Africa which have introduced blending of petrol to ethanol at varying levels,” he said.

Mr Smith said Green Fuel had potential to become a key regional exporter of ethanol, earning the country millions of US dollars.
The company — whose operations were strangled by the inclusive Government — is now up and running with capacity to produce 120 million litres of ethanol a year, securing over 4 500 jobs.

“This is phase one of the project. In the next seven years we would be producing 500 million litres of ethanol per year.
“The 500 million litres will be enough to substitute the country’s petrol requirements by 100 percent,” Mr Smith said.

He said the firm had plans to expand into the low-veld, which would further increase its ethanol production capacity.
The company has 60 000 hectares of land in Middle Sabi and a further 60 000 hectares at Nuanetsi in Mwenezi.

“We have a further 60 000 hectares in the Mwenezi region that can produce another 500 million litres a year. We will become a key exporter of ethanol in the region.”

Mr Smith said South Africa, which introduced mandatory blending, was “a key market hungry for energy”.
Some of these regional countries like South Africa are experiencing rapid increase in vehicular population growth, yet they do not have conducive climatic conditions to grow sugarcane to process ethanol for blending.

Mr Smith said the Chisumbanje plant had brought a lot of benefits apart from creating 4 500  jobs.
“We do not have a single foreigner as an employee here. Everyone is Zimbabwean,” he said.

The company has also installed irrigation schemes benefiting 4 000 villagers in the arid Sabi Valley.
Mr Smith said Zimbabwe had the best climate for sugarcane production in the world that could turn the country into a major global ethanol producer after powerhouses such as Brazil.

He said the Zambezi Valley and areas around Limpopo were all suitable for the production of sugarcane.
Mr Smith applauded the Zanu-PF Government for backing the ethanol project.

“The Minister of Energy at that time (Elton Mangoma) saw it fit not to back the project. We sat for almost two years. Ethanol projects all over the world succeed when there is Government backing,” he said.

Government last week announced plans to increase the ethanol-petrol blending ratio up to 20 percent by March next year.
During the time when the Energy and Power Development Ministry was under MDC-T, the plant was closed and opened several times, leading to the wastage of hundreds of tonnes of sugarcane meant for ethanol.

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  • Mudimbu

    Makorokoto Zimbabwe! During the unity gorvernment, hanzi Morgan aidya nzhimbhe sterek achifunga kuti achaSaborteja project iyi.

    • hamatakatambura

      Good one! Hanzi ndidzo inzimbe dzaimuitisa matama.

  • Kazana

    Everyone recognises the potential economic benefits from using local resources to produce an ethanol blend, but the mandatory 10% eventually rising to 20% in 2014 “one size fits all” approach is questionable.
    Major ethanol producers and users such as the US, have largely introduced the use of petrol blender pumps and separate ethanol storage tanks at petrol stations, allowing the user to choose any blend from 5% to 20% depending on the manufacturers recommendations for their particular vehicle, even 85% is selectable for specially modified motors.
    Although many car manufacturers have declared their newer vehicules from 2013 and 2014 will be E15 compatible, others such as BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen warned that their warranties will not cover E15-related damage.
    Following extensive ethanol blend tests, all test vehicles exhibited a loss in fuel economy as expected, proportional with the lower energy density of ethanol. With E20, the average reduction in fuel economy was 7.7% when compared to the miles per gallon achieved by pure petrol (E0) test vehicles. For the motorist capable of using an E20 blend, that should translate to a sale price for E20 of at least 8% lower compared to normal unleaded to achieve the same mileage.
    Government is aware that not all Zimbabweans are capable of purchasing brand new vehicles to ensure problem free use of proposed blends, intelligent forward planning to limit damaging side effects of mandatory blending on older vehicles will hopefully be introduced, with appreciable petrol price reductions commensurate to compensate for expected reduced fuel economy for users.

    • Desire

      Fossil fuel are an enemy of the environment and car manufacturers are aware of the pressure on them over climate changee and those who have adapted earlier like Fiat and Renault are the winners. Remember some car manufacturers do not manufacture engines. The car manufacturers who do not adapt will lose out. Petrol like tobacco will be banned or taxed out of some markets. Your tone is from someone who doesnt want change. Clean fuel is the way and Brazil is leading.

      • BIG NUGGET

        You sound like Sarah Palin, plucking things off the air and passing them off as fact. Kindly give us the figures of Fiat and Renault that you mention as leading the way in green technology. We know who the big players are in this industry, Toyota being miles ahead of most brands including the ones you lie are leading the way. Come mufowethu, give us the figures.

        • Desire

          ********** The V engine is Renault’s internal designation for the Nissan VQ engine. There are very few car manufacturers who make their own engines kana uchiziva mota you will know kuti eveen Audi chaiyo haigadzire engine dzayo and u will know that. Popularity yemotikari depends nenzvimbo baba nhiya. renault dominates even kuF1 chaiko. Renault is a force to reckon with even Volvo asked them to help develop one of their engines as well. Iwewe ndiwe Sarah palin anofung kuti Africa is a country

    • mi

      What is this “miles per gallon”?
      It is “km per litre”.
      Those are the UNESCO units

      No more of these British so-called units.
      Africa has had enough!!

      • Kazana

        Actually the modern metric system was first proposed in the 17th century by Englishman John Wilkins, with the first practical use of the metric system during the French Revolution in the 18th century, basing measurements on kilograms, litres ( 1 litre water = 1Kg) and metres ( 1000 litres = 1 cubic metre). Definitely of European origin, or EU nations, nothing at all to do with non-existent UNESCO units.

      • curiouscynic

        I thot miles ang galons were US units not british and km and litres are british?

      • Mahobho John Fisher

        yet here you are speaking English. Is that not British too then? I guess now you will say its American and that will make it fine. I wonder what your argument was really all about Sir, in fact you brought nothing to this argument, sidetracked people and draw attention from the real discussion at hand. In Shona “kubvongodza muto”

  • nyashanu

    Dhiziri mudombo,dhiziri mumi jatiroffa nhasi dhiziri munzimbe handei mudhara

  • Murimi

    Kushata kushata haro gudo asi haridye chakafa chega. Morgan was just like an ordinary person in the inclusive government so he did not have an powers against this ethanol project. These are true lies.


    Steady but sure, Zimbabwe let us continue being initiative especially in the face of detractors.