Ivory Coast eyes power generation from cocoa waste

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Workers fill sacks with cocoa beans in Kahin village at the edge of Scio forest reserve in Duekoue, Ivory Coast February 9, 2018. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – The world’s top cocoa producer Ivory Coast 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 Ivory Coast 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.

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The biomass power station, the first in Ivory Coast, would be based in the southern cocoa region of Divo. The USTDA has earmarked $996,238 for feasibility studies, the statement said.

Although Ivory Coast 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, Ivory Coast 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 percent 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.

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