Plans to build Africa’s largest wood pellet export facility underway
The company, funded by Hive Energy, based in the UK, has taken over and will restore the existing non-operational plant in Port Elizabeth. The project is expected to deliver 100 direct jobs and 700 indirect jobs and will produce high-quality wood pellets to replace coal, charcoal, and anthracite.
The Coega Biomass Centre is expected to be operational in July 2021, with full capacity being reached before the end of 2021. It will require 160,000 tons of feedstock each year, with sustainable pellets produced using biomass residues, non-indigenous forest, and destructive invasive vegetation, thereby restoring indigenous vegetation and improving water supplies.
The project is located in one of South Africa’s Special Economic Zones (SEZs), which are designed to attract foreign investment and boost local economic growth.
The venture between Hive Energy and South African sustainable development firm iLive and their project developer, Partners for Innovation, purchased the plant from business rescue. In total, the partners will invest 50 million ZAR (€3 million) in the first phase – the refurbishment and recommissioning of the factory. The full refurbishment is expected to take 6-9 months.
Colin Loubser, Hive Energy’s South Africa manager, said: “This project is an excellent opportunity for Hive Energy to show how a just green transition can take place, because not only will we create thousands of jobs for residents in an area of massive unemployment, but it will also vastly benefit local ecosystems.
“Beyond the local benefits, this project will help deliver clean energy to create transformational change to help deliver a cleaner future for all. This is a true win for the local circular economy and Hive’s international green mission.”