Cape Town – Africa’s largest biomass and wood pellets processing plant is set to restart operations after a consortium consisting of two international firms, and one local South African company bought the plant from IDC (Industrial Development Corporation). UK company Hive Energy, South Africa’s iLive Sustainable Development and Dutch company, Partners for Innovation will form a new company, the Coega Biomass Centre (CBC). CBC is looking to rehabilitate the biomass pellet production plant in Port Elizabeth.
The consortium purchased the plant from business rescue. The partners will invest 50 million ZAR (3million euros) in the first phase for the refurbishment and recommissioning of the factory. Further investments in the factory are expected in the near future. The partners will undertake a full refurbishment of the biomass plant, expected to take between 6 and 9 months.
Restoration of Africa’s largest biomass plant
Currently dormant, the plant is now being prepared to resume production of high quality wood pellets. Coega Biomass Centre will make use of biomass residues, non-indigenous forest and destructive invasive vegetation for palletisation. This will also restore indigenous vegetation, improving water supplies and providing cleaner burning fuel to replace coal, charcoal and anthracite.
The factory is expected to be operational in July 2021, with full capacity being reached before the end of 2021. An approximation of 100 jobs are set to be directly created by the facility when it starts operating, with another 700 indirect jobs to be added.
“This venture is an exciting opportunity to invest further in our cleaner world vision. It is an excellent project that will contribute meaningfully in accelerating the transition to green energy globally – not only will this benefit local communities in an area of high unemployment, but it will also positively impact the recovery of local ecosystems and now offer a cleaner energy option for thousands of dirty energy users in other parts of the world that lack this resource,” CEO of Hive Energy, Giles Redpath remarked
Multiple application pellets
A diverse range of ecological fuels used in many applications will be produced. These can be suitable to be used in home boilers for heating and cleaner domestic cooking to industrial furnaces for steam generation and for power production.
An estimated 200,000 tons of equivalent coal CO2 per annum will be offset with biomass pellets produced by Coega Biomass Centre.
“It’s been a long road to get here, and our dream is now finally coming true! Biomass plays a vital role in addressing climate change and is an important component needed for the transition to cleaner fuels. Combined with the favourable environmental and social impact this will be a flagship project for the South African economy,” said Werner Euler of iLive and managing director of CBC