Tongaat Hullet targets doubling ethanol production

By Gay Matambo

AGRO-processing firm, Tongaat Hullet Zimbabwe is on an expansion drive, which is expected to boost ethanol production from 40 million litres to 80 million litres per year.

This came out during a visit to Tongaat Hullet Triangle Mill by the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Honourable Soda Zhemu this Thursday.

Apart from boosting the country’s sugar output, which currently stands at 400 000 tonnes per year, the 4 000-hectare Kilimanjaro sugarcane project will see sugar growing and processing concern, Tongaat Hulett increasing the production of ethanol.

The development comes on the back of the enactment of the bio-fuels policy, which promotes the use and production of liquid bio fuels in Zimbabwe.

“Project Kilimanjaro that you saw is going to be about 4000 hectares of irrigated sugarcane which is roughly 10% of the existing sugar industry. In addition to that we have a number of other new beneficiaries who have been allocated land which if fully developed, will bring the total area under sugarcane to more than 60 000 hectares. That then will provide the basis for feed stock into the ethanol plant,” said Mr Aiden Mhere Tongaat Hullet Zimbabwe Managing Director.

The Minister of Energy and Power Development, Honourable Soda Zhemu who was at the company’s Triangle Mill Thursday commended efforts being made by players in the biofuels sector adding that government is working towards a consistent and sustainable ethanol blending ratio of 20 percent by 2030.

 “According to our targets we are envisaging a production of 2% of biodiesel by 2030 which they said they can always consider to maybe get into that space but ultimately we are very much interested with the production of ethanol for some reasons it is a mechanism by which we are at the moment able to contain the pricing of petrol. About 7cents is being saved on the final price of petrol that is being offered on the market as a result of blending at 15% and our intentions is to get to 20% but obviously that must be informed by the production that is coming from green fuels and together with what is being produced here at Triangle,” said Min Zhemu.

Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe also has plans to increase its electricity generation capacity from the current 20 megawatts to run the sugar mill, refinery and ethanol plant.

The company is currently channelling 10 megawatts to the national grid.