Will Mozambique become a biofuel superpower?

Oct 30, 2007 01:00 AM

Investment committed to biofuel projects in Mozambique totals $ 700 mm, which will put the country at the cutting edge of clean energy production in Africa.
According to The Investor, a weekly publication of AIM, Central African Mining and Exploration Company (CAMEC) pledged to invest $ 510 mm over the next few years in producing ethanol from sugar cane.

Until CAMEC's investment was announced, the main biofuel project in the country was that of state oil company Petromoc and agricultural cooperative Cofamosa, worth an estimated $ 125 mm. Another project being carried out by the government includes spending $ 14 mm on a factory for ethanol production.
Mozambique Biofuel Industries (MBI), owned by South African investors, plans to invest some $ 18 mm and more recently, Canada's Energem Resources announced it would invest up to $ 5.5 mm on a jatropha plantation.

Mozambique has only recently begun to understand that it is a "biofuel superpower," it is reported. Its agro-ecological resources allow for the production of a wide range of efficient energy crops, including cassava, sugarcane and jatropha, AIM said.
Analysts affiliated with the International Energy Agency estimate that the country can produce around 7 ExaJoules (EJ) of biofuels sustainably. Mozambique currently consumes around 590,000 tons of oil products per year, the bulk being diesel, which equates to around 0.18 EJ.

Achieving full energy independence is well within reach. When it comes to the availability of land for energy crops, the country currently uses around 4.3 mm hectares out of a total of 63.5 mm hectares of potential arable land, or 6.6 %.
Moreover, some 41 mm hectares of poor-quality land are available for the production of energy crops that require few inputs and are not suitable for food production.

Source / Xinhua News Agency
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