Cote d’Ivoire eyes biomass power generation from cocoa waste

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The world’s top cocoa producer, Cote d’Ivoire plans to build a 60 to 70 MegaWatts (MW) capacity biomass power generation plant running on waste from cocoa pods.

It also plans to extend its grid to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone this year, according to media reports on Tuesday. This is part of its aim to develop 424 MW of biomass power generation capacity by 2030.

The plant, which will enable Cote d’Ivoire to diversify its electricity generation sources, was among five projects to receive grants from the United States agency for trade and development (USTDA), the U.S. Embassy in Abidjan said in a statement on Monday.

Others included a hydropower project in Kokumbo and two smart grid power projects.

The statement said the biomass power station, the first in  Cote d’Ivoire would be based in the southern cocoa region of Divo. The USTDA has earmarked 996,238 million dollars for feasibility studies.

Although  Cote d’Ivoire produces about two million tonnes of cocoa annually, thousands of tonnes of pods are discarded after the beans are removed. They are left to rot or burned after the harvest.

Unlike many countries in sub-Saharan Africa,  Cote d’Ivoire has a reliable power supply.

It exports electricity to neighbouring Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo and Mali,.

But with domestic consumption rising by about 10 per cent a year, the government is under pressure to boost supply at home and aims to increase installed capacity to 4,000 MW by 2020, from the current 2,275 MW.

Biola Lawal

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