Biodiesel to ease fuel shortage – Chilumpha

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Malawi Government hopes that the opening of a Bio Fuel Processing Facility by private investor Bio Energy Resources Ltd (BERL) in Lilongwe will help ease the recurrent shortage of diesel in the country.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Minister of Energy and Mines Dr. Cassim Chilumpha says Malawi’s economy heavily relies on fuel as it is a major driver.

“What is happening now is very important to Malawi as this facility is a form of import substitution. Not only will the production of bio fuel and fertilizer be of help in enhancing the economy but also it represents a reduction in foreign exchange shortage in the country,’’ said Chilumpha.

Dr. Chilumpha further said the 8% of diesel that bio the fuel processing plant will contribute to the country is safe for usage.

He added that all verifications and research were conducted by the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) and Malawi Bureau of Standards led by his ministry to certify the diesel.

“I would like to assure the nation especially the motorists that the diesel that will be produced out of these Jatropha seeds is perfect and can be used without causing any worry”, said Dr Chilumpha.

In his remarks, chairman of BERL Board Mr Ludo Oelrich said that Jatropha trees can be used as a tool to combat some of the economic challenges that Malawi is currently facing.

“We think Malawi has three major problems. First, is how to generate income, secondly is the environment and thirdly is forex. We think with Jatropha, some of these problems can end though not completely,” said Mr Oelrich who claimed that his company has initiated plantation of 10 million Jatropha trees.

However, Mr Oelrich was quick to mention that for the initiative to be sustained there is need to plant much more trees and therefore he appealed to the public to take part.

The factory has cost BERL about $8 million, which is about 2 billion Malawi Kwacha.

BERL started its work in Malawi in 2006 and it is working with more than 25 thousand small scale farmers in 10 districts of the country who are planting Jatropha trees.—

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