SA plans to invest R2b to build an ethanol plant and help a nascent biofuels sector that could reduce the country’s reliance on imported fuel, said an industry player recently.
Africa’s biggest economy imports about 60% of its crude oil needs and became a net importer of finished petroleum products several years ago. In recent months, SA has been hit by fuel shortages due to planned and unplanned shutdowns at four of its six refineries. Roak crew, chief executive at Sugar Beet RSA, which is implementing the project in collaboration with the government, said the plant could start operating in 2014. It would initially produce some 90m litres of fuel a year as sugar beet and grain sorghum are converted into ethanol. Output at the plant to be located in the impoverished Eastern Cape province could eventually be raised to 200m litres a year, he said, but concerns among refiners regarding fuel blending and feedstock could hamper development.
Simply Green Issue 2 2012