Malawi is poised to become one of the first countries in the world to produce 28 megawatts (MW) electricity using locally-produced ethanol within three to five months.
To make it a reality, privately-owned US-based fast-track power company APR Energy intends to partner Press Corporation Limited (PCL) plc through one of its subsidiaries, Chikwawa-based Press Cane Limited, which produces ethanol.
The venture is yet to get necessary approvals from Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera).
Malawi will save foreign exchange as the ethanol required to produce electricity would be entirely sourced and paid for in local currency, as opposed to diesel which must be paid for in hard currency.
Malawi produces approximately 35 million litres per year, entirely derived from molasses, a by-product of sugar production, according to PCL.
APR Energy regional sales director for sub-Saharan Africa, Victor Mallet, said in an interview they are excited to form a close working partnership with dual-listed PLC which is interested in finding unique and innovative ways to solve the dire power problems impacting the country.
“Our technology is unique and different from what any other fast-track power company can provide in that APR’s turbines can efficiently convert ethanol into electric power,” he said.
Mallet said APR Energy has installed over 4 200MW in power plants across the world, working in geographies as disparate as Japan, Argentina, Angola and Australia.
“We are in the process of getting the necessary approvals from the authorities,” added Mallet.
PCL Group operations executive John Biziwick said in an interview yesterday that PCL is excited with the project which is expected to ease power woes the country is currently facing with some areas facing up to 25 hours of load shedding.
“This is an exciting project, but we have to get the necessary approvals from authorities before we can comment further,” he said. n