South African Company to Build $1 Bn Ethanol Plants

South Africa [Creamer Media’s Engineering News Online] Fuel firm Ethanol Africa plans to build a string of maize-to-ethanol plants in South Africa at a total cost of about $1-billion, partly pegged on the hope that new laws that could make its product mandatory. … Hoffman said a group of 200 South African maize growers had taken up a minor stake in Ethanol Africa, through Grain Alcohol Investments, which is made up of farmers who have pledged thousands of tons of maize a year to pay for their stake in the firm. Maize farmers hope the project can reap benefits by converting their surplus output into ethanol, to avoid losses caused by overproduction. … Construction of the first plant expected to cost about R700-million and was due to break ground next month, with a completion date for late 2007. The plant, in South Africa’s Free State province, will require a further R200-million to purchase about 375 000 tons of maize yearly for processing into about 473 000 liters of ethanol daily. … Brazil is the leading producer and exporter of ethanol, derived from its huge sugar cane crop. It already blends its domestic gasoline with up to 25 % ethanol and is looking to US, Japanese and Indian markets to double exports.

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