Restarting the largest wood pellet export plant in Africa

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November 23, 2020 – Biomass processing and wood pelletisation plant for cleaner energy to be refurbished and recommissioned in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Hive Energy (United Kingdom), iLive Sustainable Development (South Africa) and Partners for Innovation (Netherlands) have joined forces to establish Coega Biomass Centre.

The company, funded by Hive Energy has taken over and will restore the existing non-operational plant to produce high quality wood pellets using biomass residues, non-indigenous forest and destructive invasive vegetation, restoring indigenous vegetation, improving water supplies and providing cleaner burning fuel to replace dirty coal, charcoal and anthracite.

The new venture aims to illustrate the viability of the parties’ innovative approach to establishing sustainable biomass supply chains with a positive impact to the environment that unlocks more end-uses for the global market.

Wood Pellets
The initiative will commence with wood pellet production that is suitable to be used in many applications – from home boilers for heating and cleaner domestic cooking to industrial furnaces for steam generation and for power production.

Coega Biomass Centre will undertake a full refurbishment of the Biomass plant, which is expected to take 9 months, and thereafter develop production capacity to eventually produce as much as 120,000 tons of white pellets annually.

An estimated 200,000 tons of equivalent coal CO2 per annum could be offset with biomass pellets produced by Coega Biomass Centre.

When fully operational, the plant will provide over 100 direct jobs with another 700 indirect jobs generated such as surveying, training, harvesting, collection, transportation and processing of biomass inputs.

Future outlook
Coega Biomass Centre (CBC) is also conducting a feasibility study to introduce new drying and torrefaction technologies to produce black pellets. The range of feedstocks used to produce black pellets is broad and enables the beneficiation of biomass residues – such as forestry residues that would otherwise being left in the plantations to rot, producing methane which has a very high Green House Gas impact.

CEO of Hive Energy, Giles Redpath remarked “For Hive Energy 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.”

Werner Euler of iLive and managing director of CBC: “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.”

Emiel Hanekamp, senior consultant at Partners for Innovation: “In this project Coega Biomass Centre will work together with all local stakeholders. By creating value from residue and invasive biomass, we will be able to provide a real contribution to a sustainable economic growth, that will benefit South Africa, the Netherlands and the planet.”