Sasol to build R1,8bn gas-engine power plant

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Sasol to build R1,8bn gas-engine power plant

Petrochemicals group Sasol announces plans to build a R1.8bn gas-engine power plant next to its electricity generation facility in Sasolburg.

This will see Sasol, which is SA’s largest industrial company, further reduce its reliance on Eskom power.

Sasol has previously said that the 140MW power project would raise its electricity self-sufficiency to 840MW, or 60% of its overall power consumption.

According to Sasol, the plant would be the largest plant using gas engines installed in SA.

Analyst Cornelis van der Waal of Frost & Sullivan says more industrial companies were considering producing their own power to counter risks of rising electricity prices and supply constraints. 

"These companies are looking at various technologies in order to be self-sufficient," he says.

Sasol is one of a handful of independent power producers that sell electricity to Eskom as part of the power utility’s power-purchase programme.

Sasol yesterday said the new project would supplement the energy requirements of its Sasolburg facility.

Henri Loubser, MD of Sasol New Energy, a new business unit in the company, yesterday said: "The project will make a significant contribution to improving the country’s current electricity supply situation by freeing up electricity that would otherwise have to be imported from the national grid. Using several gas engines, the plant will use natural gas as a feedstock."

Sasol said construction would commence this month and electricity generation was expected to start by the end of next year.

The company said the project would emit fewer greenhouse gases. 

The company which is one of SA’s biggest air polluters has said that it wants to reduce its carbon footprint.

"Producing electricity from natural gas rather than coal results in much fewer emissions, and this project will produce 50% less greenhouse gases compared to a conventional coal-fired power station of equivalent capacity," Mr Loubser said.

Sasol set up the unit to develop new technologies for a carbon- and water-constrained world.



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