Ethiopia aims to increase its electricity production from 2,200 MW to 8,000 MW with the aid of a sugar-based ethanol that would help to reduce car emissions as well as cute down on fossil fuel imports. Approximately 300,000 tonnes of sugar is produced annually, with 62MW of electricity produced from the Wonchi, Metehera and Finchaa sugar factories. The electricity is used to power the factories themselves, and the surplus is used by the national grid.
Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Gossaye Mengiste, was reported as saying that the country has the potential to produce 600MW of electricity once the 13 factories, currently under construction are complete.
Reuters reports that the government is prioritising ethanol, a byproduct of sugar as a cost-effective source of power, without requiring custom facilities. It can therefore ‘act as a supplementary energy source when needed’. The additional electric capacity will come from a number of sources, including hydropower and wind, waste energy, geothermal and co-generation from sugar plants.
The increase in sugar production will not only address the 200,000 ton annual sugar shortage, but will also be used to reduce the protracted electricity cuts and growing air pollution from motor vehicles. The Ethiopian government views the use of ethanol as an ‘environmentally friendly answer’ to these challenges.
The country is slowly shifting to becoming a ‘climate-resilient’ and an increasingly green economy. It endeavours to have ‘net zero’ carbon status by 2025. Reducing the emissions from cars is a significant part of that strategy said the Energy Minister.