Biofuel draft policy released

If passed, the bill means the SA biofuels industry can leave the starting blocks and potentially offer a welcome shot in the arm to the flagging sorghum industry.

From October 2015, oil refineries would be required to blend fuel with 2% of locally produced bioethanol. While sorghum and soybean have been approved for use as a feedstock, maize has been banned to alleviate food security concerns.

An estimated 250 million litres of bio-ethanol would be needed annually to supply demand. However, the refinery industry has had little time to tackle the changes needed to adapt, which include making infrastructural upgrades to refineries.

The compulsory 2% blending is potentially a major source of employment and economic development.

Mabele Fuels, SA’s first licensed bio-ethanol project, will start construction as soon as the Bill is passed. The site, based in Bothaville in the Free State, will use sorghum as feedstock.