Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Cane Plant Rescues ZESA

Cane Plant Rescues ZESA

By David Masunda, CHISUMBANJE, Middle Sabi – Zimbabwe’s first ethanol only 
plant will start producing between 2 to 3 megawatts daily from September, 
company officials told RadioVOP.

Peter Glaum, the ethanol plant manager at Green Fuel’s massive Chisumbanje 
and Middle Sabi sugar cane estates, says at full production, 18 megawatts 
would be channeled into the ZESA grid to enable the embattled parastatal 
meet some of its growing demand for electricity.

Green Fuel is a joint venture between private investors and the government’s 
Agriculture and Rural Development Authority (ARDA). ARDA owns Chisumbanje 
and Middle Sabi estates where already 5500 hectares are under sugar cane 
production. The project is driven by Zimbabwean entrepreneur Billy 
Rautenbach who has copied the Brazilian ethanol plant designs.

When RadioVOP visited last week, Brazilian and Zimbabwean engineers were 
busy testing the plant before it can be fully commissioned within the next 
two months. Glaum said depending on the cane condition (calorific value), 
Green Fuel expects to produce between 2 to 3 megawatts of electricity and 
350 thousand litres of ethanol daily by September.

According to company officials, the deal between the private investors 
(called Rating at Chisumbanje and Macdom at Middle Sabi) is a build, operate 
and transfer (BOT) arrangement with ARDA taking complete control of all the 
sugar cane production in the two estates in 20 years.

As the project develops, said company officials, it is planned to introduce 
villagers into small-scale sugar cane production with assistance – in the 
form of cane seed, irrigation and expertise – from Green Fuel.

On the ethanol side, Green Fuel expects to produce 500 million litres of 
ethanol annually in 10 years to power local vehicles, said Glaum. It will 
market two types of fuel: E15 which is 15% ethanol and the rest petrol; and 
E85, a highly concentrated variety that can fuel cars on its own without the 
need to mix with petrol.


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