Ethiopian Ethanol production closer to realty

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The first joint venture ethanol project between the Sugar Corporation and Eugen Schmitt, a German firm is expected to become a reality  in the near future after the establishment of a share company.
The two bodies agreed last May about the general concept of forming the JV company at Wonji Shoa, 110km south east of Addis Ababa to produce ethanol.
According to Gashaw Aycheluhem, Public Relations head of the Corporation, the formation of the share company is ongoing, while the two sides have agreed to produce ethanol at the historical sugar production area of Wonji.
He said that the agreement signed between the two sides in May 2017 has been ratified by the Corporation′s Board of Management and Ministry of Public Enterprises, which is the green light for the realization of the company.
The company’s investment capital will be USD 51 million.
“The corporation has several kinds of investments like roads and electricity between the sugar factory to the main road. We are also source of the inputs, molasses, water and land,” Gashaw told Capital.
According to the deal the Ethiopian public enterprise would hold a 14 percent share in the company and the veteran ethanol producer from Germany will hold 83 percent of the shares.
Three other people each have one percent of the shares at the ethanol company, called Wonji Ethanol Technology SC.
“In the future the Ethiopian shares will be increased to 20 percent,” Gashaw explained.
According the Public Relations Head, the final process including the settled the paid up capital is the remaining issue to commence the project.
“Currently the German company which has over 50 years of experience in sector is producing the manufacturing equipment for the new ethanol plant in Ethiopia,” he added.
Currently, only Metehara and Fincha sugar factories are producing ethanol, which is blended with benzene up to ten percent, while the percentage might be reduced to 5 percent when the sugar factories suspend their sugar production.
The upcoming project at Wonji will take place in two phases. During the first phase 30,000 liter ethanol per day will be produced then the amount will double  when the second phase is finalized.
The government has been looking to invest in the ethanol and sugar sector on a JV basis. It has been stated that Chinese companies like COMPLANT, which constructed three sugar factories in Ethiopia, are in the process of invest with the government in ethanol sector.
The Ethiopian Minerals, Petroleum and Bio Fuel Development Corporation and Sugar Corporation, both public enterprise, have also announced that they will establish a 1.1 billion birr ethanol industry to produce 50,000 liters of  ethanol per day. The JV of the two enterprises will be established at Omo Kuraz III,  sugar factory constructed by COMPLANT, which  is expected to commence trial test before the end of this budget year.