Zimbabwe to produce ethanol fuel in 2011
By Staff Reporter
Friday, 22 October 2010 12:17
HARARE - The construction of the biggest ethanol plant in Africa at
Chisumbanje in Chipinge has gathered momentum with indications that Zimbabwe
could start getting cheap ethanol fuel by March 2011.
Green Fuel, the ethanol distillery company spearheading the project which on
completion will employ over 7000 people, said yesterday that they had
imported a state of the art plant from Brazil expected to produce ethanol
sufficient enough to meet the country's requirements.
The ethanol project is also expected to produce by-products that will
include stock feeds and 18 megawatts electricity for the national grid
during the first phase of the project.
The ethanol project has been accorded National Project Status by government
in recognition of the massive revenue inflows to be realised when ethanol
production commences early next year.
In a statement, Green Fuel general manager, Graeme Smith said: "Our original
target for commencement of production was October this year. However, this
had to be reviewed owing to the logistical challenges experienced in the
importation of the plant. Delivery of the equipment was help up by strikes
in RSA ports earlier in the year.
"Plans to complete the plant by March next year are on course despite the
challenges experienced in bringing in the plant from Brazil. The ethanol
site is a hive of activity as project managers apply all their resources to
ensure that the March 2011 deadline is achieved," said Smith.
The ethanol project in Chisumbanje forms part of a Build Operate and
Transfer Agreement entered into between the Agricultural Rural Development
Authority (ARDA) and a consortium of private investors, Macdom and Rating
The agreement says Arda provides land for the project while the investors
mobilise capital resources.
Turning to the issue of sugarcane from their fields which is harvested and
sent to Triangle for processing, Smith said it was due to the fact that
their cane had matured before the completion of the plant so they had to
take protective measures.
"The crops harvested are being sent directly to Triangle for processing
simply because the cane matured before completion of our own production
plant. We are generally happy with the yield we are getting from the
"Infact, we are getting about 170 tonnes of sugarcane from each hectare,
about 1300 hectares are being harvested and we are still expanding in terms
of the hectrage to be planted. Presently we are just under 4000 hectares in
total and by the end of the first phase of the project we should have
planted about 20 000 hectares," said Smith.
Zimbabwe is trying to follow the example of Brazil where there are no longer
any vehicles running on pure gasoline and their mandatory fuel blend is 25
percent anhydrous ethanol and 75 percent gasoline.
According Green Fuel, benefits to the public will be "cheaper, higher
performing fuel that is good for the environment."
"Zimbabweans will be able to experience the same benefits next year when
Green Fuel ethanol is introduced to the market," said Smith in the