Mangoma clashes with Green Fuel over electricity claims

Former energy minister Elton Mangoma has said claims by businessman Billy Rautenbach that his Green Fuel ethanol project will be able to electrify the whole of Manicaland are totally false and misleading.

Former minister, Elton Mangoma.
Former minister, Elton Mangoma.

In an interview, Mangoma said Rautenbach’s ethanol project had no capacity to generate enough electricity to power Manicaland.

“Let’s forget about the electricity,” said Mangoma. “It is impossible when people make claims that are completely unsubstantiated that the plant can do a maximum of 18 megawatts. 18 megawatts is not sufficient to power Manicaland.”

Mangoma argues that, for two years after the project was launched, there were neither plans nor real electricity supply set up for the province despite the company being overstocked.

But Lilian Muungani, public relations manager for Green Fuel, said her company was planning a massive multi-million dollar investment expansion in four new ethanol manufacturing plants that would produce 1.5bn litres of ethanol from more than 40,000 hectares of sugarcane.

The output would be enough to meet Zimbabwe’s fuel requirements, with the balance set for export. The move would see the company generating 120 megawatts of electricity, she said.

“We have more than 5,000 vehicles in Harare that are already using the E85 fuel,” said Muungani. “The company is also in the process of opening up new sites throughout the country to register a national presence for E85.”

Zimbabwe’s daily petrol consumption, according to statistics from the petroleum department within the ministry of energy and power development, stands at 1.5m litres. “From the existing plant, Green Fuel has the capacity to substitute 20 per cent of this daily consumption figure through blending ratios of 80 per cent unleaded and 20 per cent ethanol,” she said.

“To bring this to fruition, we hope to develop 46,000 hectares of land for commercial cane (approximately 10,000 hectares at Middle Sabi and 36,000 at Chisumbanje). So far the area under sugarcane is 9,500 hectares.”

She added her company was producing 200,000 litres and plans were afoot to raise the daily capacity to 250,000 litres in three weeks.

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