IVORY COAST – The government of Ivory Coast has kicked off construction work on the first biomass power plant with grid injection in Africa, to be managed by BIOVEA Energie.

Biovea Energie, an Ivorian incorporated firm owned by Électricité de France (EDF), Meridiam and Biokala, a joint venture created by Meridiam and a major agro-industrial player in West Africa was the winner of the 25-year concession to design, build, operate and transfer the 46MW biomass plant, set to convert oil palm waste into electricity.

After finalization of the 25-year period, Biovea Energie will transfer full ownership of the facility to the Ivorian State. 

Under the project, the power plant will be supplied with circa 450k tons of palm trees waste thanks to a long-term fuel supply agreement signed with PalmCi a subsidiary of SIFCA.

Palmci will source 30% of the biomass needed for the plant from its own existing industrial palm oil plantations and 70% from out growers who are expected to realize an average income increase of 20%.

The project is co-financed by Proparco, the subsidiary of the French Development Agency (AFD) group responsible for financing the private sector, and Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF).

Proparco’s contribution to the deal is Euros 140m (US$138m) of blended financing made of Euros 135m (US$133m) at a concessional margin and a Euros 5m (US$4.95m) Viability Gap Funding grant.

Meanwhile EAIF, a Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) Company – managed by Ninety-One, is contributing around Euros 30m (US$29.7m) of debt and PIDG Technical Assistance is providing a Euros 8m (US$7.9m) Viability Gap Funding grant.

It is estimated that the project will cut carbon emission of c.340 thousand tons per year once operational.

In addition to the Biovean project, Ivorian specialist in the biomass sector, Société des Energies Nouvelles (SODEN), has also partnered with US Trade and Development Agency to establish a cocoa-powered renewable energy plant.

The project, which will innovatively put to use the cocoa-waste is expected to cost about 131 billion West African CFA francs (US$195m).

The facility will use cocoa plant matter left overs, to produce between 46 and 70MW of electricity per year.

Ivory Coast currently gets most of its power from fossil fuels, with natural gas generating 70% of its energy.

The country has a target increasing usage of renewable energy sources to 42% and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 28% by 2030.

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