Ethiopia's sugar project aims to boost power production

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Addis Ababa, 29 August 2014 (WIC) - The Ethiopian government has embarked on an ambitious project to grow more sugar crop as it would not only allow the government to meeting demand for sugar but also help it boost electricity production and cut carbon emissions.

After extracting juice from sugarcane, the remaining product can be used to produce electricity. Ethiopia's three factories at Wonchi, Metehera and Finchaa currently produce nearly 300,000 tonnes of sugar annually. These factories also generate 62 megawatts (MW) of electricity, 50 per cent of which is used by the factories themselves and the remaining half is sent to the national electric grid.

Production of sugar-based ethanol would help the country in reducing its dependence on conventional fuels like petrol. This way, the country will also be able to cut carbon emissions. The country is also working on a plan to build a climate-resilient green economy, with an aim to achieve zero net carbon output by 2025.

Gossaye Mengiste, a senior official from Ethiopia's Ministry of Water, Irrigation & Energy, said the country has a potential to produce 600 megawatts of electricity from sugar when the new factories that are currently under construction will start production.

Ethiopia has an aim to increase electricity generation from current 2,200 megawatts to 8,000 megawatts by the end of the 2015.

The list of other benefits from the sugar project includes generation of more jobs and the production of high-quality cattle feed as a byproduct, for the country's growing livestock sector. (Newspoint Africa)