Zera stocks up on ethanol

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Golden Sibanda Harare Bureau

THE Gov­ern­ment has set aside suf­fi­cient re­serves of ethanol for blend­ing to cater for un­fore­seen glitches in production dur­ing the rainy sea­son, the Zim­babwe En­ergy Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity has said.

Zera chief ex­ec­u­tive En­gi­neer Glo­ria Magombo said the Min­istry of En­ergy and Power Devel­op­ment has stocked up a cer­tain amount of ethanol for re­lease into the mar­ket if there are short­ages. This is part of proac­tive mea­sures to avoid con­fu­sion of the past when deal­ers were left in a quandary over blend­ing ethanol after sole li­censed sup­plier, Green Fuel, could not meet de­mand.

Green Fuel, which op­er­ates the Chisum­banje Ethanol Plant, could not pro­duce enough ethanol to meet the deal­ers’ re­quire­ments for com­pli­ance with the 15 per­cent manda­tory blend­ing.

Eng Magombo said mea­sures have been put in place to avoid short­ages of ethanol in the mar­ket, es­pe­cially ahead of the rainy sea­son where the sup­plier usu­ally en­coun­ters chal­lenges in har­vest­ing its sugar cane.

“We have ad­e­quate (stocks) to meet de­mand. Cur­rent ethanol blend­ing lev­els are E15 and the av­er­age production rate over the last three months is 6 mil­lion litres/month,” Eng Magombo said.

The Gov­ern­ment had to re­lax its E15 manda­tory blend­ing thresh­old last year, as in­ces­sant rains made it dif­fi­cult for Green Fuel to har­vest its cane fields in Chisum­banje to pro­vide feed­stock for ethanol. The Gov­ern­ment has been crit­i­cised in the past over its de­ci­sion to cre­ate mo­nop­oly, Green Fuel, a part­ner­ship be­tween Mac­dom, Rat­ing and State owned Agri­cul­tural and Ru­ral Devel­op­ment Au­thor­ity.

It was felt that the mo­nop­oly killed com­pe­ti­tion in the mar­ket leav­ing con­sumers, sup­posed ul­ti­mate ben­e­fi­cia­ries from blend­ing of petrol with ethanol, at the mercy of the ethanol mo­nop­oly. Fur­ther, crit­ics have pointed out that ben­e­fits of lower fuel price have not been re­alised as en­vis­aged ear­lier de­spite the lo­cal blend­ing, a phe­nom­e­non also com­mon when global fuel prices drop.

En­gi­neer Glo­ria Magombo

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