From: The Fiji Times - 20/09/2008
THE Fiji Sugar Corporation will seal the deal for the construction of the country's first ethanol plant soon.
The $36 million dollar plant that will produce food-grade ethanol for export to Japan is expected to commence operations in 2010.
FSC chief executive officer Deo Saran yesterday confirmed they had completed a feasibility study and would be soon signing the deal with Japanese firm, Sojitz Corporation.
Mr Saran said all preparations for construction were progressing as planned and a major announcement would be made later.
FSC is expected to finalise all arrangements before its board meeting on October 1.
"Construction will begin soon after we sign the deal with the Japanese company and we hope to complete the project by mid 2010," said Mr Saran.
In April this year, FSC entered into a memorandum of understanding with Sojitz Corporation to investigate the feasibility of ethanol production.
The ethanol project is being undertaken as part of FSC's diversification program into value adding products to ensure the industry's viability in light of the current reduction in sugar prices.
The plant will be located in Lautoka. It will produce ethanol from molasses, a by product of sugar. The project will be jointly funded by Sojitz and FSC.
FSC hopes to produce 33,000 kilolitres of ethanol from an estimated of three million tonnes of cane.
Ethanol production is expected to rise further once the sugar industry restructure is complete.
During the MOU signing, FSC chairman Bhoo Gautam said FSC's entire molasses production of about 130,000 tonnes would be used as feedstock during the project's initial stages.
Mr Gautam said later they move into producing ethanol by using cane juice itself.