The first-of-its-kind biodiesel refinery plant is to go operational in December 2018 in Adama Industrial Zone, with an annual biodiesel production of over 70 million liters. The biodiesel refinery will make use of 1.4 million hectares of reforestation, of the drought resistant biofuel plant Jatropha, to provide renewable biofuel resource. This is one of the ten similar plants API plants to build by 2025, which are expected to generate a total of 730 million liters of biofuel annually.
API, African Power Initiative, has set out to launch this commercial biodiesel refinery after erecting a successful pilot refinery plant. Marcos Bitew, CEO of API, said that their team is “incredibly excited and gratified for the world to see our vision of sustainable energy production coming to fruition in Ethiopia.”
In terms of direct employment alone, API projects the biofuel refining will create 10,000 jobs in the next 10 to 12 years. Moreover, they plan to have 5.5 million hectares of biofuel crop cultivation. As every 10 hectares of biofuel crop requires one worker as a rule of thumb, this will create job opportunities for additional 550,000 workers. While API has identified the region of Tigray as a target region for biofuel development due to its underutilized land, it plans to incorporate the regions of Afar, Oromia and Somali. In due time, API’s CEO says it would instill up to a billion dollars annually into the East African economy, including the revenue obtained directly from biofuel and potential forex to be obtained from the sale of carbon credits. In addition to the economic and environmental benefits, the project is also expected to bring about some more social stability along with the job over-half-a-million new jobs it will create.
To pay the local farmers for seeds and services, API has signed an agreement with Moneta Technologies SC to use “Amole” digital wallet, a digital payment platform of Dashen Bank. This, API CEO Marcos Bitew additionally remarked, “will bring financial inclusion for the unbanked and underbanked farmers.”
Founded in Ethiopia in 2009, API is a public-private partnership formed to develop sustainable energy production and economic growth.
Sources: API’s Press Release; Ethiopian News Agency; Markets Insider