The world’s largest producer of cocoa, Ivory Coast plans to build a 60 to 70 megawatt (MW) capacity biomass power generation plant running on waste from Cocoa bean shells. This will enable the West African country to diversify its electricity generation sources as it aims to develop 424 MW of biomass power generation capacity by 2030.
According to Reuters, this is part of the five projects to receive grants from the U.S. Agency for Trade and Development (USTDA). Other projects include a hydropower project in Kokumbo and two smart grid power projects. This will also be the first biomass power station in Ivory Coast and it would be based in the southern cocoa region of Divo. The USTDA has earmarked $996,238 for feasibility studies.
It is reported that Ivory Coast produces around 2 million tonnes of cocoa annually, and thousands of tonnes of pods are discarded after the beans are removed. These pods are left to rot or burned after the harvest as opposed to making good use of them.
Unlike many sub-Saharan Africa countries like Nigeria, Ivory Coast has a reliable power supply that it even exports electricity to Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo and Mali, and plans to extend its grid to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone this year. Domestic consumption in the country is, however, rising by about 10 percent a year and the government is under pressure to boost supply at home. The government also aims to increase installed capacity to 4,000 MW by 2020, from the current 2,275 MW.
Wastes as by-products from food production pose a huge threat to farmers as disposal is often very expensive hence they result to only burning. According to research, Scientists have also said that Cocoa shell also known as Hull or husk can be used as food ingredients. Husks are also a cost-efficient source of Pectin for food which is also sourced from Apple Pomace and citrus peel.