By Khumbo Kaliwo:
National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) has indicated that it has engaged PressCane Limited and other small-scale sugarcane growers to increase production of the crop this year, in a quest to boost production of ethanol as a vehicle fuel.
This follows revelations that all necessary tests and trials were concluded by the commission which established that vehicles that use petrol can substitute the commodity with ethanol.
This came out during the fourth national research dissemination conference in Lilongwe, recently.
NCST Chairperson, Emmanuel Kaunda, said expectations are high that use of ethanol in motor vehicles will be fully rolled out in the country next year.
He said the only challenge has been inadequate locally produced biogas from sugarcane.
“We discussed with PressCane Limited to go into massive production of sugarcane to warrant this sector and they are already mobilising farmers in the Shire Valley to produce the crop to support the industry.
“NCST supported the experiment of blending petrol with ethanol and 20 percent of the country’s petrol is blended using ethanol which is a huge saving to the country but the problem remains scarcity of ethanol for blending,” Kaunda said.
He further revealed plans to start building a city expected to be a hub for technological revolution next year.
Minister of Education, Agnes NyaLonje encouraged partnership between NCST and the National Planning Commission (NPC) saying it would enhance research into national development.
She disclosed that the government has developed a National Research Agenda aimed at supporting implementation of the Malawi Implementation Plan (MIP-1) expected to be launched in the first week of March 2023.
“A research discovery only becomes an innovation when it is implemented and widely used by citizens and the government is interested in this ultimate delivery point. We look to NCST to help this country realise goods, services and practices from the research outputs of our universities,” NyaLonje said.