Sunbird Bioenergy Africa has entered into a joint venture with Republic of Zimbabwe to develop a cassava to bioethanol project in the Mashonaland Central province. The agreement was signed by the Minsiter for Energy and Richard Bennett, CEO of Sunbird Bioenergy.
The project has been designed and developed as a benchmark for sustainable investment in Africa and in accordance with EU, World Bank and African Development Bank standards.
Sunbird Bioenergy has leased 40,000 Ha of land from the Mbiri Council near Mushumbi Pools to develop a cassava nursery and rural out-grower program. The company has designed an agricultural program that is forecast to produce 600,000 tonnes of cassava feedstock for the bioethanol plant. The cassava nursery is expected to employee 80 specialist workers, whilst the majority of the cassava will be produced by up to 20,000 small scale farmers and rural out-growers.
Ethanol and Power Plant
The design of the biorefinery and power plant is based upon a project recently completed by China New Energy in Thailand. The plant is capable of processing multiple feedstocks including cassava, molasses and sugarcane into anhydrous bioethanol for the transportation fuel market and potable alcohol for consumption. The plant is designed to produce 120 million litres of bioethanol per annum and will have an electricity production capacity of 6MW.
Cassava has been selected as a sustainable feedstock for the project, because it is easy to grow and is regarded as participative feedstock because the economics are the same for small scale farmers and industrial farmers alike making it suitable for out-grower programs in Africa. Sunbird Bioenergy is developing an innovative out-grower program that will enable small-scale rural farmers to start their own sustainable business producing and selling cassava feedstock to the company for the life of the plant.