Ethanol Programme Justification and Goals

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By promoting use of ethanol as an alternative energy source to petrol in motor vehicles, the programme will contribute to energy self-sufficiency, national economic development, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The use of locally produced ethanol could replace a proportion of petrol resulting in savings in foreign exchange. Increased ethanol production and use will contribute to the development of: the Greenbelt Initiative by increasing the hectarage under sugarcane and other crop production; agro-processing; and manufacturing. This is in line with the Government’s policy of turning Malawi from a predominantly importing and consuming nation to a predominantly producing and exporting nation.

Increased use of ethanol will reduce reliance on imported petroleum fuel and shift focus to locally produced fuels resulting in energy security in the long term. Ethanol produced from sugarcane molasses and other biomass feedstock is classified as a renewable form of energy and therefore reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Using ethanol as a fuel improves urban air quality because it produces lower tailpipe emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter than petrol fuel. Ethanol is generally less toxic to handle than petroleum fuels and has the additional benefit of reducing waste through conversion of sugar-rich waste such as sugar molasses into ethanol instead of being disposed of onto the environment.


Overall Goal

The overall goal of the programme is to promote the increased use of ethanol as an alternative energy source in motor vehicles in Malawi.

The strategy for increasing ethanol production and use is twofold.

  • Increasing use of ethanol by continued blending of ethanol at 20% with petrol (E20); and
  • Promotion of use of ethanol by blending of ethanol at 80% with petrol (E80). This requires use of either conversion kits in ordinary petrol driven vehicles with Electronic Fuel Injection or flexi vehicles.