PCL invests K11 billion in ethanol plant upgrade

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Press Corporation plc (PCL), through its subsidiary company PressCane Limited, has invested K11 billion in an ethanol plant which will produce high-quality potable ethanol  to be used in the pharmaceutical and beverage industries, with some intended for the export market.

PCL Chief Executive Officer, Ronald Mangani, said in an interview yesterday that the ethanol plant will also have a component of Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) capable of producing fertilizer, bio-gas and electricity from the waste of ethanol production.

“We are in the process of upgrading our versatile ethanol plant at PressCane Limited which will enable full utilization of its production capacity of 60,000 litres of ethanol per day. This can be used for fuel blending and, more importantly, high-quality potable ethanol called ‘pharma-grade’ which can be used in the pharmaceutical and beverages industries, apart from exporting it to bring in the much-needed foreign exchange into the country,” said Mangani.

He explained that the company has made an investment of K2 billion in the ‘pharma-grade’ potable ethanol production plant, and a further K9 billion in the ZLD plant. 

“The good thing with pharma-grade ethanol is that it is pure, and we are excited to introduce this new product because we are responding to the demands of our customers who desire a better-quality product, especially those that want a product that is capable for use in beverage and pharmaceutical production.”

“We are already in talks with foreign customers to export the product, and this will be good for our country especially now when we are having foreign exchange challenges,” said Mangani.

He also said the ZLD plant will make sure that PressCane is environmentally friendly in terms of its waste disposal as the plant is capable of producing fertilizer, bio-gas and electricity from the waste of ethanol production.

“We are happy that, with the fertilizer that we will be producing from the ZLD plant, we will save some of the forex used to procure fertilizer from outside Malawi,” said Mangani.

He further said under the pharma-grade project, PressCane will bring an additional standalone unit to process hydrous alcohol to produce an additional 30 kilolitres per day (KLPD) of anhydrous alcohol (AA).

“The unit will be capable of improving the produced AA to a quality suitable for both pharmaceutical and beverage applications.  This investment will, therefore, increase annual  AA production from the current 13 million litres to 18 million litres. In addition, the company will be capable of producing 7 million litres of potable ethanol in a year,” said Mangani.

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