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Sasol and CEF to conduct joint feasibility study into biodiesel manufacture

09 February 2006

Sasol and the Central Energy Fund (CEF) are considering the feasibility of constructing a 100 kilotonnes per annum soya bean-based biodiesel plant in partnership with an empowerment consortium group.

The two parties today signed a memorandum of understanding to conduct a feasibility study to test the viability of such a venture before an investment is made. The feasibility study will also look at production facility location options. It should be completed by the end of this year.
A pre-feasibility study conducted over the last few years by Sasol in close cooperation with the CEF indicated potential for commercial-scale production of this renewable energy source if supported by appropriate fiscal incentives. This environmental initiative is in line with Sasol's value of continuous improvement.
“Sasol recognises the importance of renewable energy as part of our sustainability and we support government's commitment to diversify the energy mix in South Africa. International experience has shown that many socio-economic benefits accrue from biofuel production, including job creation, foreign exchange savings, and strengthening of the rural agricultural economy,” says Sasol Nitro managing director Bernard Klingenberg.
“We are confident that a large-scale, commercial biodiesel facility will create an excellent opportunity for meaningful incorporation of emerging farmers into the supply chain. It will also give impetus to government's White Paper on the Promotion of Renewable Energy,” says Manny Singh, General Manager at the Energy Development Corporation, a division of the CEF (Pty) Ltd.
Biodiesel is a renewable diesel blending component that is manufactured from vegetable oil by catalytic reaction with methanol. Annual global production is about three million tonnes, with Western Europe being the leading market. Significant production also occurs in the US and Asia.
Biodiesel can be blended readily with conventional fossil diesel without any need for vehicle modifications. Biodiesel contains little sulphur and is clean-burning. It is an environmentally benign fuel that does not contribute to global climate change and reduces most tailpipe emissions, such as carbon monoxide, particulates and aromatic compounds.
The proposed biodiesel plant will require more than 500 kilotonnes of soya beans to produce 100 kilotonnes of biodiesel per annum.

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