THE Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) has introduced mandatory blending of ethanol (E5) and unleaded petrol with players in the fuel industry expected to comply with immediate effect.
In a notice, Zera said this was in line with of the Petroleum (Mandatory Blending of Anhydrous Ethanol with Unleaded Petrol) Regulations, Statutory Instrument (SI) 17 of 2013 and the Petroleum Act (Chapter 13:22). It follows the licensing of Green Fuel (Pvt) Ltd after its recent compliance with conditions set by the government.
The company faced demands to comply with empowerment laws which force foreign companies to localise ownership of at least 51% of their operations.
“The public is advised that the quality specification of E5 fuel conforms to the Standards Association of Zimbabwe Standard: ZWS964 Part 1 for fuels and is based on internationally recognised quality standards for this type of fuel,” Zera said in a notice.
“E5 is therefore safe for use in all petrol-powered engines,” Zera added.
The energy regulator said the approval of E5 was with immediate effect and wholesalers and retailers have up to 60 days to clear their current stock and make the necessary preparations after which all licensées in the petroleum sector will be expected to comply with the provisions of SI 17 of 2013.
Zera said it had fixed the starting wholesale price of the ethanol produced for mandatory blending at $0,95c per litre for the first 90 days.
The energy regulator said it will review the price every three months and this is expected to reduce the current retail price of petrol by three cents per litre.
Zera said as part of its mandate to ensure prices charged by licensées were fair to consumers, it would continue to monitor the pricing of the product and carry out the relevant testing of fuel for quality compliance in terms of the Fuel Quality Regulations contained in SI 23 of 2013.
The introduction of E5 is in line with global trends in the deployment of bio-fuels in countries such as India, Thailand, Latin America, US, Europe and Australia where the minimum ethanol blending levels are at least 5%.
Benefits of ethanol blending (E5) will include, among others, reduction in vehicle tailpipe emissions, improvement in the octane rating of fuel and energy security for the country.
Zera recently approved a partnership between Allied Timber Holdings and Indian Lurosa Investments (Pvt) Ltd, to set up a
40 megawatt biomass gasification power plant in the country.
Biomass gasification involves conversion of solid fuels such as wood waste and agricultural residues into a combustible gaseous mixture normally called syngas.
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