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Zimbabwe set to become a major ethanol producer

by Byo24NEWS
16 Jan 2011 at 18:39hrs | Views
THE country is set to become a major player in ethanol production, with revelations that the US$600 million ethanol plant is on course for completion by March.

Although Green Fuel - the company that is spearheading the project - indicated that there were some glitches during the rainy season, particularly in growing cane, major installations and production will be ready within the set time frames.

The project was conceived out of a joint venture between Arda Chisumbanje and Macdom (Private) Limited.

Despite the heavy rains in Chisumbanje, the complement of welders, boilermakers, carpenters, surveyors, engineers and project managers are working to ensure that the deadline is met.

Critically the plant's distillery section is now taking shape following the delivery and installation of the distillery columns.

The function of the distillery section is to receive the raw juice from the mill for purification and fermentation into the final product ' ethanol.

Information gathered by reporters indicates that upon completion, the plant will be able to produce about 350 000 litres of the biofuel, which translates to 1,2 billion litres per annum.

Also during the production process about 18 megawatts (MW) will be produced from the mill and fed onto the national grid.

It is believed that the resultant power produced will be able to cover major parts of Manicaland.

"We have had exceptionally high rainfall this year ' having received already 50 percent of the usual total of the whole season for this area.

"This has affected work in the fields ' at some stage in December we had to stop all planting and tillage because of the mud.

"On the plant itself, however, the impact of the rain so far has been minimal as work only stops during the downpour, after which work resumes," said Mr Graeme Smith in a statement.

According to Mr Smith, the added volumes of annual rainfall have had the effect of intensifying power cuts from power utility, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa).

However, to beat the challenges, Green Fuel has resorted to using five massive generators.

One of the back-up generators with a capacity of 500 kva also has been installed at the Chisumbanje water pump station to ensure constant water feeds into the 18-kilometre canal for sugar cane irrigation, and another equal in capacity is being run at the mill site "to ensure a smooth flow of sensitive tasks such as the long periods of concrete pouring in the civil engineering works".

The project has created more than 6 000 jobs.

A team of Government officials from the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Finance toured the Green Fuel Ethanol Plant last month assessing whether the project will be completed timeously.

Source - Byo24NEWS