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Presscane plans to raise ethanol output by mid-2016

Malawi’s Presscane Limited, a subsidiary of stock exchange listed Press Corporation Limited (PCL), has unveiled plans to increase production capacity at its Chikwawa factory from 60,000 to 90,000 litres per day by mid 2016.

The factory capacity expansion plan is in addition to the US$70 million project the company embarked on to increase ethanol production by engaging farmers to grow and sell sugarcane to the ethanol distillery company.

Presscane operations manager Bryson Mkomaanthu said in an interview that through the project, the company intends to install new machinery which will help increase the production capacity.

When completed, the expansion will see ethanol production at the factory grow by 50 percent by mid next year.

“We agreed with a contractor to expand the existing equipment and upgrade the production of ethanol. We have an opportunity to expand the plant,” he said.

He said the expansion has been motivated by the potential for ethanol demand increasing on the market following introduction of the Ethanol Driven Vehicles Project.

He cited low supply of raw materials such as molasses as a major challenge that is also influencing high production cost of ethanol in the country.

“We need to find ways of bringing down the cost of production. And increasing production levels is one way to manage the cost. Demand will continue to grow, hence, the need to also grow supply but at a reasonable cost,” said Mkomaanthu.

At the beginning of this year, Ethanol Company of Malawi (Ethco), a sister company to Presscane, also unveiled plans to set up a second ethanol plant in Nkhotakota district to increase production of the commodity.

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