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East Africa’s largest ethanol plant | Coastweek

JINJA (Xinhua) -- Photo taken on Feb. 20, 2017 shows East Africa’s largest ethanol plant, in Jinja, Uganda. The 36 million U.S. dollar plant is owned by Madhvani Group, a local company that plans to produce 20 million litres of ethanol annually.  XINHUA PHOTO: RONALD SSEKANDI
Uganda starts ethanol production, eyes fusion with petrol   

JINJA, Uganda (Xinhua) -- Tucked at the back of Uganda’s biggest sugar factory in the eastern Ugandan district of Jinja is east Africa’s largest ethanol plant.

Production has started and Rogers Mulamba, a Supervisor at the plant, carefully assesses the process through a couple of monitors in the control room.

The 36 million U.S. dollar plant is owned by Madhvani Group, a local company that plans to produce 20 million liters of ethanol annually.

Ethanol is distilled from the fermentation of materials containing carbohydrates or sugar. Ingredients for making ethanol include sugarcane molasses, grain, sorghum, maize and sugar beet among others.

At this plant, the ethanol is extracted from sugarcane molasses through a meticulous process.

Government says it plans to enact a law that will allow the blending of ethanol with petrol, a move that will save the east African country millions of dollars in foreign exchange.

Mayur Madhvani, Joint Managing Director Madhvani Group, said if the ethanol-petrol fusion is accepted, the country would be saving 20 million dollars annually.

He also said the ethanol could be fused into the country’s crude oil to ease its viscosity while it is being transported by pipeline from western Uganda to the Tanzanian seaport of Tanga.

Uganda’s oil is waxy, according to experts, a factor that makes it hard to transport. 

Uganda has over 1.6 billion barrels of oil in the western part of the country. It plans to start commercial production by 2020, according to government. 

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