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March 20, 2009

South Africa to sell biodiesel to Germany

South Africa signed a contract to export between 70 and 90% of output from a planned 400,000 tonnes a year biodiesel plant to Germany. An environmental impact assessment is under way and production from the plant, located in the Elidz area, will start next year.

This is part of an initiative by the South African government to encourage export-oriented growth in the country through the attraction of foreign and local investors.

This initiative- The East London Industrial Development Zone (Elidz), has secured the long-term contract to export from a planned 400000-ton -a-year biodiesel plant in the Eastern Cape to Germany, the body said in mid-March.

Canola will be the feedstock for the plant. Elidz and its partners in the project -- the Eastern Cape Development Corporation, Asgi-SA Eastern Cape and the Department of Agriculture -- had chosen canola because it met the strict European Union quality specifications.

Elidz business development manager Msokoli Ntombana says Elidz had a ‘long-standing’ contract to export the output from the plant to Germany, ‘as this is suitable biodiesel for the cold European conditions that other feedstock cannot meet’.

Meanwhile, the Southern African Biofuel Association (Basa) has moved to defend the industry amid perceptions that its development in SA could hamper food security.
The advent of a viable biofuels industry has often raised questions about its impact on food security.

In a move that has dented the hopes of the proponents of biofuels, the South African government has excluded maize from potential feedstock of biofuels as it is a staple crop for most South Africans. Rising maize prices also motivated the move.

Biofuels International

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