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Sugar company starts to produce own electricity

A sugar firm has announced it is now producing 18 megawatts of electricity from bagasse to augment its power requirements.

Kwale International Sugar Company Limited (Kiscol), which is based in Msambweni, said the reduction in production costs will lead to a fall in the price of its products and make sugar more affordable.

Project Director Harshil Kotecha said production began in December last year and that the firm uses eight megawatts of power and will either add the remaining 10 megawatts to the national grid or export them in June.

"Bagasse, a by-product of sugar production, will be the main bio-mass material for electricity generation, with 25 per cent of electricity produced being used by the factory, 25 per cent being used for water supply and irrigation system pumps and 50 per cent supplied to the National Grid to ease Kenya's demand for power," said Mr Kotecha.

He added that the company will construct a distillery or fermentation plant to upgrade its molasses. He noted molasses would be recycled to ethanol for blending with fuel, extra neutral alcohol for alcohol consumption or pharmaceutical use or yeast. "Vinasse, the final by-product of biomass distillation for the production of ethanol is produced in copious amounts in sugar factories.

 Systems are in place at Kiscol to ensure that most of this by-product becomes economically beneficial to the project through acceptable alternative treatments and uses," he said. Kiscol is one of the largest private green field investment projects in Africa.