Takunda Maodza Manicaland Bureau Chief
ETHANOL producer GreenFuel has doubled production to 380 000 litres a day since the introduction of the blending ratio E20, saving the country US$10 million a month in fuel imports.
Fuel that is consumed in Zimbabwe is blended with ethanol.
GreenFuel produces ethanol at its Chisumbanje Estate, where it invested millions. It generates ethanol from sugarcane from its huge plantations in the Middle Sabi.
In an interview with The Herald yesterday, GreenFuel public relations manager Ms Merit Rumema confirmed the company was producing close to 400 000 litres of ethanol a day.
“At a blending ratio of E20, approximately 380 000 litres of ethanol is produced per day, which equates to foreign currency savings of over US$10 million per month,” she said.
“When blending at E10, forex savings amount to around US$5 million per month.”
Blending unleaded petrol with ethanol reduces the price of petrol.
For the first time in many years, petrol in Zimbabwe is selling at a lower price than diesel, as a result of the blending of unleaded petrol and ethanol.
“Blending unleaded petrol with ethanol has the direct effect of reducing petrol prices at the pump and as Zimbabwe’s ethanol is locally produced, blending it with imported fuel provides direct import substitution and significant foreign currency savings,” Ms Rumema said.
Ethanol is clean-burning and a higher-octane fuel compared to unleaded petrol, and is believed to improve the performance of a vehicle’s engine.
The mandatory blending ratio in Zimbabwe is E20, but it fluctuates between E5 and E20, depending on production of ethanol.
According to GreenFuel, it is possible to blend up to 25 percent ethanol with 75 percent unleaded petrol (E25) without making any modifications to a vehicle.
Apart from ethanol production, GreenFuel also generates green, renewable electricity which is exported into the national grid.
Increased production of ethanol also means increased power generation.
“The factory exported 12 833MW last year and has exported 12 094MW so far this year,” said Ms Rumema.