If you’ve feasted on anything chocolatey recently, there’s a fair chance its cocoa originated in Ivory Coast. Tucked into the most western part of Africa, this country grows over 40% of the world’s cocoa beans, making it the largest producer of cocoa. Cocoa is also Ivory Coast's biggest export and the creator of 6 million jobs in the country. For decades, this amazing crop has been fueling the country's economy, but soon, another part of the crop will be powering Ivory Coast.
What Other Parts Can Come into Use?
The beloved cocoa bean is a mere part of the cocoa crop which is exported and used for the creation of candy bars, drinks, and confectionery. The rest of the plant, however, is discarded as waste. This includes cocoa sweatings (a light yellow liquid expelled during the fermentation process), pod husks, and bean shells. You can only imagine the amount of waste such a large-scale operation produces.
Ivory Coast Has a Solution
In Ivory Coast’s changeover to sustainability and renewable energy, this waste plays an important role. The country has finally conducted pilot projects on a biomass plant that is fueled by cocoa waste. Divo, the Ivory Coast town responsible for most of the country’s cocoa, hosts the state-of-the-art facility. Much like in a run-of-the-mill fossil fuel plant, the cocoa waste will be burned to power a turbine and generate electricity.
The Divo Biomass Power Plant
With the US Trade and Development Agency’s support, Soden estimates the completion of the project by early 2023. According to Yapi Ogou, managing director at Soden, the plant will produce 46-70 MW of electricity annually. Compared to existing power sources, the facility will reduce CO2 emissions by 4.5 million tons. In a place with rapidly increasing energy needs, new creations such as the biomass power plant could make all the difference.
Wrapping It Up
The facility is estimated to set managing partners back by 131 billion West African CFA francs. This translates into about $244 million or £173 million. Following its success, nine other plants are expected to be built across the country.