'Biofuels will reduce Zambia's dependence on crude oil'

biofuels13 February 2014, Lusaka – The use of biofuels as a supplementary source of fuel in Zambia will reduce the country’s dependence on imported crude oil by at least an average 10 per cent.

This is because the blending ration has been set between five and 10 per cent for bio fuels.

Biofuels would be blended with crude oil because Zambia does not have modified vehicles with engines that can start with either crude or bio fuel alone.

Biofuels Association of Zambia (BAZ) chairperson Thomson Sinkala said in an interview that from the blending ration, it is evident that the country would still largely depend on imported crude oil for fuel supplies.

“With the blending ration at five per cent for bio diesel, the country would require between 37 and 40 million litres of bio diesel per annum.

“With the blending ration at 10 per cent for bio ethanol, the country would require between 44 and 50 million litres of bio ethanol per annum,” Professor Sinkala said.

He said if ethanol-based fuel was to be manufactured at full capacity, then the country would require 440 million litres and 550 million litres of bio diesel and ethanol respectively per annum.

“This would now mean that people will have to acquire flexi-vehicles that are modified to use ethanol,” he said.

Prof Sinkala said entrepreneurs have already started preparing their business proposals to access monetary aid for the establishment of biofuel refinery plants in the country.

Prof Sinkala said starch-based crops such as cassava, and sugar-based crops like sweet sorghum and sugarcane would be vital components that will enhance Zambia’s capacity to produce biofuels.

The Government recently worked out the pricing mechanism for biofuels using the petroleum price framework by applying a 0 – 5 per cent discounted rate to the current wholesale prices for petrol and diesel at K 5.47 and K 6.20 per litre respectively.

The wholesale price for bio ethanol is K 5.20 per litre while that of bio diesel is K 5.89 per litre before the inclusion of taxes.

Mines, Energy and Water Development Permanent Secretary Charity Mwansa said the main blending point for ethanol with petrol in the country would be Indeni Petroleum Refinery in Ndola.

She said apart from experimental basis, Zambia was currently not producing ethanol.

“It is estimated that K3.5 million will be required at Indeni and 12.3 million at the Lusaka depot in order to put up blending facilities and Government is mobilising these funds so that blending can begin in 2014,” Ms Mwansa said.


– Times of Zambia

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