Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Diesel 50: Switch to clean energy costly

Diesel 50: Switch to clean energy costly
Cars now come complete with emission control devices such like diesel oxidation catalysts, diesel particulate filters etc

Cars now come complete with emission control devices such like diesel oxidation catalysts, diesel particulate filters etc

Jeffrey Gogo Climate Story
In a bid to reduce climate-changing carbon emissions, energy regulator ZERA has outlawed use of a more toxic version of diesel called D500, replacing it with the much cleaner diesel 50 (D50).

But the immediate result was a rise in prices.

At pump, each litre of D50 costs around $1,36, compared to D500, which retails at around $1,23.

This has always been a lingering concern, working against cleaner energies, that the change must necessarily cost more?

In the past, we have seen how investors frowned upon solar power as a viable alternative for grid electricity supply due to high installation costs of the PV solar technology.

Until recently, when prices dropped from about 18c/kWh ten years ago to just 3c/kWh, according to a 2017 report by the International Energy Agency.

A switch to diesel 50 was said by ZERA to be a cheap and quick way to reduce Zimbabwe’s carbon footprint of 26 000 gigatones.

Acting chief executive Misheck Siyakatshana expects the price to correct soon, blaming the existing disparities on shipping inefficiencies.

“There is no difference in the price of D50 from the current price of D500 when D50 is imported through the (Feruka) pipeline,” Mr Siyakatshana sort to calm nerves, in emailed responses to The Herald Business.

“Diesel 50 has been imported by road (because of the smaller quantities), which is expensive,” he added.

At a cost of 6,5 cents, the pipeline costs substantially lower to move a litre of petrol or diesel, compared to road.

But the change-over to diesel 50 is only three months away, said the ZERA acting chief, at which point all diesel shipments will go through Feruka, and with it bringing the price down.

The D500 ban took effect on November 1. The switch should be complete by next March.

Cleaner option

Diesel is a huge market in Zimbabwe, accounting for almost 60 percent of all domestic liquid fuels consumption.

Diesels produces slightly more carbon than petrol, with each litre of diesel emitting the equivalent of 2,7kg of CO2. Petrol emits 2,3kg of CO2 per litre, says University of Zimbabwe climate scientist Terrence Mushore.

And diesel generates several times more nitrogen dioxide and sulphur particles — the small items blamed by the World Health Organisation for causing an array of illness when inhaled, including heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory problems.

Now this is primarily the reason ZERA is going through with the switch — to eliminate the more harmful diesel 500 and have in its place diesel 50.

“Sulphur in diesel contributes to the formation of particulate matter in engine exhaust as well as secondary particulate matter,” said Mr Siyakatshana, the acting ZERA chief executive.

“The smaller part of particulate matter called black carbon is now thought to be the second most important climate change contributor following carbon dioxide.”

Mr Siyakatshana praised diesel 50 as one that “burns cleaner”, certain to effectively limit emissions of black carbon by as much as 99 percent, if diesel filters were used on compatible, new generation engines.

Most cars now come complete with emission control devices such like diesel oxidation catalysts, diesel particulate filters, selective catalysts reduction technology, and others, but diesel 500 makes them useless.

“The performance (of emission control units) in newer vehicle models is drastically inhibited by sulphur fuels such as D500,” Mr Siyakatshana told The Herald Business.

Moving target

As economies develop, countries are now looking for better ways to do so, without harming the natural environment, or depleting its finite resources such as water and clean air.

So, to do that, world governments have agreed to implement domestic programmes that prevent the emission of gases that drive climate change, a phenomenon which has spewed deadly extreme events not limited to drought, floods, tropical cyclones and others.

The goal is to limit global temperature rise, brought on by too much production of climate warming gases like CO2 and methane, to 2 degrees Celsius in this century, according to a deal signed in 2015 by nearly 200 countries, called the Paris Agreement.

But the current levels of commitment to achieving many of the Agreement’s targets don’t go far enough. And as nations dither, continuing to expand their economies by unsustainable means, the global temperature goal continues to grow, becoming a moving target.

Aiming to cut emissions by about a third, or 17,300 gigatonnes, by 2030, Zimbabwe, through ZERA, has reported some progress.

Plans to save electricity and improve energy efficiency have been executed, with additional strategies for driving investment in solar and hydropower.

In the transport industry, which accounts for just over 4,2 percent of the national emissions total, according to data from the Climate Ministry, measures are targeted at ethanol blending, and lately diesel.

By blending petrol with ethanol, a sugarcane-derived fuel, Zimbabwe hopes to avoid the equivalent of 202 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide over the next 13 years.

ZERA’s Mr Siyakatshana believes the diesel 50 initiatives dovetails with the country’s broader plans under the Paris treaty, even though the fuel’s true emissions reduction potential remains unknown.

“The use of diesel 50 is well in line with the dictates of the National Energy Policy, which stipulates the use of low sulphur and cleaner fuels as a measure to curb outdoor pollution from the transport industry,” he said.

God is faithful.

[email protected]


New Posts:

From the archives

Posts from our archive you may find interesting