Sudan to launch its first ethanol mill in March

Sudan's state-owned Kenana Sugar Co.'s (KSC) first ethanol mill, built by Brazil's Dedini Industrias de Base, which builds facilities for the sugar and ethanol industries, is set to begin operations at the end of March.

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 10 -- Sudan's state-owned Kenana Sugar Co.'s (KSC) first ethanol mill, built by Brazil's Dedini Industrias de Base, which builds facilities for the sugar and ethanol industries, is set to begin operations at the end of March.

Situated within the KSC complex, some 250 km south of Khartoum, the mill is expected to produce about 61 million l./year of alcohol from molasses made in the country.

Sudan's ambassador to Brazil, Omer Salih Abubakr, said KSC is contracted to supply 5 million l./year of ethanol to the UK.

Abubakr said about $800 million has been invested in the overall KSC project—largely sugar plantations and sugar mills—with funds coming from several governments, including Sudan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, and Japan.

Sudan is one of the leading sugar cane growers on the African continent, producing slightly more than a million tonnes/year. KSC exports most of it to the Middle East.

In July 2008, aiming to diversify its output and export potential, the Sudanese government invited Brazilian ethanol facility contractors such as Dedini SA to build as many as 18 sugarcane ethanol plants in the African country.

"We have plans to expand the production of sugar and want Brazil to help us with this," Sudan's vice-secretary for foreign affairs, Mutrif Saddig, told Brazil's state news agency. "We are after Brazilian (ethanol) technology," Saddig said.

At the time, Dedini said it was retrofitting an existing KSC sugar cane milling unit with equipment necessary to make ethanol.

Until recently, about 80% of Dedini's business has been confined to the Brazilian market, where sales have grown steadily at 20-30%/year for the past 5 years. But export markets are beginning to open.

In August 2008, Indonesia's Medco Group said it would form a joint venture with Dedini to set up a bioethanol plant in Papua, with production scheduled to begin in 2011.

"The plant will have a production capacity of 30,000 b/d and will require an investment of $200 million," said Arifin Panigoro, Medco's founder.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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