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Ethanol rules outlined

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Government has set licence fees for ethanol producers at $20 000 per year in a development that is expected to attract new producers to the sector.

Blenders of petrol and ethanol are set to pay $5 000 per annum as licence fees.

In Statutory Instrument 144 of 2011 the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, after consultation with the energy regulatory authority, has in terms of section 57(1) of the Petroleum Act Chapter3:22 set the rules for the sector.

“Ethanol purchased for the purposes of blending shall be obtained solely from duly licensed or approved ethanol producers by the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority.The acceptable denaturants for ethanol shall be petrol benzene or methanol,” the gazette said.

Energy and Power Development permanent secretary, Justin Mupamhanga, said the rules are to fulfil government reintroduction of ethanol in the country.

“We hope consumers will take up this product now that the rules are there,” he said.

The regulations come a month after motorists started using ethanol-blended petrol at selected distribution centres in the country supplied by Green Fuel, a company that is based in Chisumbanje which produces ethanol.

The blend is selling at $1,36/litre. Green Fuel is producing 150 000 litres of ethanol per day and it expects to produce 700 000litres of ethanol when the plant is complete.

At least 120 megawatts of thermal electricity is expected when the company reaches its peak.

Green Fuel spokesperson Lilian Muungani said the company acknowledges the supportive policy environment facilitated by government from the commencement of the Green Fuel ethanol project to date through various documents, including Statutory Instrument 144 of 2011.

“This legislative support has not only significantly contributed towards generating national awareness around the development of a home-grown solution in the energy sector, but also resulted in the completion of the first ethanol plant in a record time frame of just less than 20 months,” she said.

She said the Statutory Instrument further represented consistency on the part of government in promoting ethanol production.

“As Green Fuel we hope that more garages will come on board now so that a wider distribution network for E10 blend can be achieved to cover the rest of the country,” she said.

At Chisumbanje, a new 4 000 hectare irrigation scheme is being developed for communal farming.
Ethanol is a clean-burning fuel that reduces air pollution and decreases greenhouse gas emissions by over 60%.

Most global economies are investing in renewable energy sources such as ethanol in reaction to the concern over lack of sustainable supply from non- renewable fossil fuels.

As talk of climate change gathers momentum, Zimbabwe joins countries like Brazil and China walking the talk on how to reduce her carbon footprints through investment into environmentally-friendly ethanol.

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