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Uganda: Biofuel plant planned

A local investor is planning to set up a plant which will use foodstuff like maize, cassava and sugarcane to manufacture oil and gel for lighting and cooking respectively. The investor, who currently imports the biofuels (synthetic oil and gel) from their South African-based parent company Liquifier Pty Limited, hopes to set up the plant in east and western Uganda, by the end of June next year.
According to the General Manager of Liquifier Uganda limited, Mr Michael Musoke, the plan is to reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere through reduced deforestation and consequent charcoal burning.

"Plans are underway to set up a local manufacturing (biofuel manufacturing) plant in Uganda. It will be the only Gel manufacturing plant in Uganda, the East and Central African region,"Musoke told Sunday Monitor.

"There is a lot of garden surplus in Uganda, which we shall use," Musoke adds, to justify where the feedstock (crops to be used to produce the fuels) will come. He says since their operations will depend mainly on farm produce "we shall also support the farming sector by offering them more seeds to plant, provide farm inputs and provide the necessary advisory services".

Liquifier Uganda limited became operational in Uganda two years ago but its products were only launched last month.

Today, their products with a brand name Liquifier have found their way in most super markets in Kampala.

Among their products are synthetic oil, which burns in specially designed lamps (liquilamp) made of durable, hard plastic, which does not get destroyed when used for lighting.

The Liquilamp, which takes half a litter of synthetic oil, goes for Shs26,000 giving 60 hours of burning or lighting. According to Musoke, the synthetic oil has been mixed with a chemical called citronella, which is a mosquito repellant.

"When you use the liquilamp, you can also be sure you are well protected from mosquitoes and malaria,"he says of the Liquifier product. Other products are gel, which comes with specially designed stoves, made of mild steel.

A litre of gel, which burns in the stove, goes for Shs3,600. A five-litre gel pack goes for 18,000 and according to Musoke, it burns for a period of three to four weeks for light cooking.

A double plate stove goes for Shs55,000 while a single plate stove goes for Shs 42,000.

The gel is packed in consumer friendly quantities ranging from one litre to 200 litre drums, which caters for big institutions like schools, hotels, restaurants, and hospitals.

For hotels that have long been using spirit for warming foodstuffs during the buffet method of serving, Musoke says the gel is a better option as it burns longer.

Musoke describes the products as smokeless, odourless, highly portable, leaves minimal residue after use and produces twice as much energy, compared to gas and paraffin.

"It's also none poisonous and can be used as anti-septic on the skin," he says.

"Research on our products found Liquifier is a better alternative compared to other products (such as gas and paraffin)," he adds.

Biofuels are gaining firm ground in Uganda with many companies and individuals opting to convert arable land to enable production of the feedstock used to manufacture fuel from the crops.

Last year, Sugar Corporation of Uganda Ltd (Scoul) requested the government to provide 7,100 hectares of land from within Mabira Central Forest Reserve to enable it expand it's sugar production from the current 50,000 tonnes to 100,000 tones per annum, in line with their plans to increase sugar production and produce power alcohol.

Additional information: Read more: at AllAfrica
News date: 22/10/2007

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