South Africa Wants Biofuels To Account for 2% of Fuel Production

Aiming to reach goal by 2013

South Africa wants biofuels to account for 2% of its total fuel production by 2013 but will exclude the staple maize as a source, the Cabinet announced on Nov. 6.

A new strategy envisages a pilot phase for biofuel production starting next year, with the 2013 target revised downward from an initial draft proposal of 4.5%. "The revision of the target is in consideration of agricultural concerns," said Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica, adding that maize would not be used for the development of biofuel in the initial stages of the plan. "This is largely due to food security concerns, fears around price increases and the fact that maize is a staple food source for the majority of the poor in the country."

Instead, soya beans, canola and sunflower would be used for bio-diesel production, and sugar cane and sugar beet for ethanol.

As an incentive, the fuel levy exemption on bio-diesel will increase from 40% to 50%, while bio-ethanol will enjoy a 100% exemption, said the minister.

The strategy, she added, was developed in response to concerns over fuel supply security and volatile international crude oil prices. "It also seeks to promote renewable fuels and to contribute to the reduction of emissions, helping to mitigate... climate change."

South Africa meets about 36% of domestic liquid fuels demand by the production of synthetic fuels, largely from coal and natural gas. The remaining 64% is refined locally from imported crude oil.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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