Fort Cox College to launch a Bio-ethanol Pilot Project as part of Science Week
1 Aug 2012
The Fort Cox College of Agriculture and Forestry, as part of the National Science Week, will launch a landmark project for Sustainable Micro Agro Processing (SMAP) which is aimed at alleviating renewable energy and economic poverty in the Eastern Cape. Scientific research, technology transfer and rural bioeconomy development are fundamental components of this project, which also supported by the South African Department of Trade & Industry.
The SMAP, a first in the country is a scientific programme which is a specialised function that facilitates the research and development of sustainable feedstock production (Sweet Sorghum) and the micro processing of the biomass to bioethanol and ethanol gel.
The launch will form part of the College's day Science Week to be held on Friday in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology, Agriculture Research Council (ARC) and BioMass Renewables (BMR) in a bid to highlight the importance of agriculture science and rural development initiatives as tools of economic development.
This project will see 30 hectares (ha) of land, 15ha inside the college and 15ha by small-scale farmers from the villages around the College, being cultivated with sweet sorghum for purposes producing bio-ethanol, grain (food/feed) and bagasse (feed and/or further processing). The project is initiated by BMR which is supported by the Finnish Foreign Ministry and Stellenbosch-based non-profit organisation Cence Collaboration.
Through this project, whose finance processing and management is done by the Development Bank of South Africa, local farmers and agri-entrepreneurs will be trained at the College as part of the Energy and Environment Partnership. The College will have a processing plant that will process the sweet sorghum.
Important elements of this SMAP mobile technology transfer unit, includes an all terrain multipurpose vehicle with a state of the art mobile or field laboratory. There will be an analysis into the efficiency and viability of Sweet Sorghum as a drought tolerant feedstock that will provide food (the grain), juice for the production of biofuel (bioethanol and later biodiesel) and organic matter for composting, pyrolysis and livestock feed.
Fort Cox graduates will be trained as field officers, providing support and feed field
databack to the laboratory as well as to the farmers for the correct agronomy and agroprocessor inputs or output. The Agricultural Research Council (ARC) and Fort Cox College of Agriculture are signing a historical Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), aimed towards providing a considerable contribution to the training of farmers, field officers, agricultural students and scientists at Fort Cox Agricultural College.
This MOU will provide exciting technology transfer, research, development opportunities, whereby lecturers at the Fort Cox College will be empowered and encouraged to further their academic careers while playing an active part in the generation of knowledge. This initiative is in perfect alignment to South Africa’s strategic focus towards the realisation and support of Knowledge Based Bioeconomy (KBBE).
The Science Day will see presentation on the overview of renewable technologies by renowned Professor Bongani Ndimba from the University of Western Cape and ARC as well as a presentation by East London-based Emonti Science Park on their role in agricultural related researches. With the theme: "The Role of Science in Economic Development" the National Science Week is a countrywide celebration of science involving various stakeholders and role players conducting science-based activities.
Details of the event:
Date: 3 August 2012
Venue: Fort Cox College of Agriculture and Forestry
Time: From 9h00
For more information, please contact:
Mr Araia (Fort Cox College Principal)
Cell: 083 451 1555
Cell: 082 499 3600
Issued by: Eastern Cape Rural Development and Agrarian Reform
1 Aug 2012
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