Abidjan wants to build the world’s first biomass power station fired by cocoa production waste, Ivory Coast and US officials said on Monday.
If the $273m scheme gets the go-ahead, Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa grower, could go on to construct nine more power stations burning cocoa waste.
The first plant could be up and running in 2023, said Yapi Ogou, the head of the Socit des nergies nouvelles (Soden or New Energies Company) which is in charge of the project.
The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has financed a million dollars of feasibility studies which should be completed by next April.
Ivory Coast cocoa production waste amounts to 26 million tonnes, mainly pods from which the beans have been extracted, Ogou said.
The plant would be built in the centre of the west African nation at Divo and generate 60-70 megawatts, he added.
Ivory Coast currently generates 2,200 MW but strong economic growth has put a strain on supplies.
The new cocoa waste plant would also save the equivalent of 250,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, Ogou said.
A US trade delegation led under secretary of commerce Gilbert Kaplan is visiting Ivory Coast and USTDA has re-opened an office in Abidjan after a 16-year gap.
Abidjan’s commerce minister Souleymane Diarrassouba said trade between the two countries had expanded 55% from 2012-2017 to reach $1.8bn dollars.
Setting a target of three billion dollars by 2025, he urged US business “to invest massively in Ivory Coast”.