Côte d’Ivoire eyes biomass power generation from cocoa waste

Côte d’Ivoire is the world’s leading cocoa producer. (Reuters pic)

ABIDJAN: The world’s leading cocoa producer Côte d’Ivoire plans to build a 60- to 70-megawatt (MW) capacity biomass power generation plant running on waste from cocoa pods, part of its aim of developing 424 MW of biomass power generation capacity by 2030.

The plant, which will enable Côte d’Ivoire to diversify its electricity generation sources, was among five projects to receive grants from the US agency for trade and development (USTDA), the US embassy in Abidjan said in statement on Monday.

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

The biomass power station, the first in Côte d’Ivoire, would be based in the southern cocoa-producing department of Divo. The USTDA has earmarked US$996,238 (RM4,033,768) for feasibility studies, the statement said.

Although Côte d’Ivoire produces around 2 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, Côte d’Ivoire has a reliable power supply. It exports electricity to neighbors Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, and Mali, and plans to extend its grid to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone this year.

But with domestic consumption rising by about 10% 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.