Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sudan to open ethanol plant

Sudan will soon open an ethanol plant to initially produce 65 million litres a year of the biofuel, and annual production should reach 200 million litres in two years, state news agency SUNA said. 

The plant, which one economist said would be Sudan’s first, will use by-products from Sudan’s sugar industry to create a renewable energy source for a country whose economy is largely dependent on crude oil. “Production is expected to increase to 200 million litres (a year) in two years’ time,” SUNA said, adding the plant would probably be opened by Sudan’s President Omar Hassan Al Bashir. 

SUNA did not give an opening date or say who owned it. “This is the first time for Sudan to produce ethanol ... I think in the beginning they will export it. There is no demand in Sudan now,” Mohamed Ali Dingel, an economist and agriculture specialist, said. 

Sudan’s embassy in the United Arab Emirates said last year that Abu Dhabi-based private group Bin Omeir Holding was considering building a sugar refinery in Sudan to produce 100,000 tonnes of sugar and 20 million litres of ethanol a year. It was not clear if this plant was part of that project. 

Sudan is home to the 100,000-acre Kenana sugar factory in its White Nile State about 250km south of Khartoum, and SUNA said it was the largest in the region. 

Sudan produced roughly 800,000 tonnes of sugar, raw value, in 2004, according to the International Sugar Organization (ISO) Year Book.