South Africans will take a step closer to driving on blended fossil fuel and biofuel when the Department of Energy publishes its final regulations on what will become mandatory blending of fuels by the end of next month.
The regulations, which have been slow in coming, will herald a new energy future for SA, which is often criticised for lagging behind the world, and much of the rest of Africa, in the development of ethanol from sugar cane.
While the government will set the initial ratios of the blend to be used in SA, it will also define the financial aspects of biofuels products - who gets paid what, from cane farmer to dispenser.
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SA was lagging behind other African countries, particularly in the development of ethanol from sugar cane, a situation expected to change once government policy was defined, said Richard Orendo Smith, chemicals, materials and food research analyst at Frost & Sullivan.
The proposed new regulations are expected to set out the requirements and conditions for the blending of bioethanol and biodiesel with petrol and diesel.
The development and use of biofuels will give SA an alternative to fossil fuel sources such as coal, in line with the government’s aim to diversify energy sources. Large-scale use of biofuels could reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Tongaat Hulett CEO Peter Staude said earlier this year the slow pace of consolidating the policy framework for electricity co-generation and biofuels was frustrating potential energy contributors.
The Department of Energy issued draft regulations for the mandatory blending of biofuels last year and invited comments.
"The department has considered the comments from the office of the chief state law adviser and is now in the process of finalising these regulations to obtain the minister of energy’s approval to publish final mandatory blending regulations. It is anticipated that the final regulations will be published before the end of July," the department said this week.
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