Sierra Leone: Mabilifu Renewable Energy Project

Sunbird Bioenergy Sierra Leone Limited is an integrated agricultural estate and renewable energy company located in Mabilifu, Bombali District, Northern Province, Sierra Leone. The company produces bioethanol (biofuel), potable alcohols (ENA) and renewable power from sugarcane and cassava.

The company has been designed and developed as a benchmark for sustainable investment in Africa and in accordance with EU, World Bank,African Development Bank standards and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The company is RSB certified and registered under REACH that enables export to the EU.

Agricultural Estate

The estate leases 23,500 Ha of land from the Government of Sierra Leone for the production of sugarcane and cassava. Currently 10,000 Ha to be developed under sugarcane that is forecast to produce 900,000 MT for the production of ethanol and renewable power. The company is currently developing an additional 2,000 Ha of cassava production as a secondary feedstock.

Sunbird Bioenergy Sierra Leone Sugarcane

Sunbird Bioenergy Sierra Leone Sugarcane

Extra Neutral Alcohol and Rectified Spirit

The company recently commissioned a distillery upgrade to include a 100 M³ per day extra neutral alcohol (“ENA”) plant that produces high-quality potable alcohol from sugarcane juice. ENA is available for export to the following specification: SGS ENA Analytical Report 2020.

Sunbird Bioenergy Sierra Leone Alcohol ENA Plant

Sunbird Bioenergy 100 M³ per day ENA Plant

Bioethanol (Anhydrous Ethanol or Biofuel)

The bioethanol plant produces 85 million litres per annum of anhydrous ethanol or biofuel that complies with the international EN 15376 specifications for blending with mogas. The ethanol produced is sold to the domestic Sierra Leone biofuel blending program and shipped to international customers in Europe.

Sunbird Bioenergy Sierra Leone Biorefinery

Sunbird Bioenergy Sierra Leone Bioethanol Distillery.

Renewable Power Production

The power house was designed and constructed by De Smet Engineers and houses a 32 MW Siemens Turbo generator. Steam is generated from bagasse and other waste biomass in two ISGEC boilers. We can supply a surplus 200 GWh into the national grid (approximately 20% of Sierra Leone’s capacity) and to regional customers.

Sunbird Bioenergy Sierra Leone 32 MW Power Plant

Sunbird Bioenergy Sierra Leone 32 MW Biomass Power Plant

Bulk Storage and Vendor Managed Inventory

The company has more than 20 million litres of bulk ethanol storage and recently commissioned an additional 7 million litres of bulk ENA storage for vendor inventory management of ENA.

ENA Storage Tanks

ENA Storage Tanks Commissioned in 2021.

Renewable Power Distribution

Power can be supplied to wholesale customers via our own local micro-grid or by “wheeling” via the national grid. The company has constructed and commissioned 40 towers and 10km of high-voltage line to connect to the national grid and installed more than 200 km of local micro-grid.

Power Line Connection to the National Grid

Power Line Connection to the National Grid

Ethanol Distribution and Export

The company’s road tanker fleet can transport the ethanol to customers in the local market and to the bulk storage facilities at the Kissy Terminal in Freetown where it can be exported to Europe and other regions.

Port of Freetown.

Future Development Initiatives

  • An additional 7 million litres of bulk storage to be installed in 2021
  • Development of a sugar production line to be constructed in 2021/2
  • Development of a cassava starch line to be constructed in 2021/2

History of Sunbird Bioenergy Sierra Leone

  • 2008
    The company was incorporated as Addax Bioenergy Sierra Leone Limited by the Addax and Oryx Group (“AOG”) of Switzerland.
  • 2016
    Sunbird Bioenergy Africa, Faber Capital and a Consortium of Investors acquired a majority stake in the business and it was renamed Sunbird Bioenergy Sierra Leone Limited (Press Release)
  • 2019
    Browns and Company Plc joined the Consortium and became the primary operations partner.


Sunbird Bioenergy Sierra Leone Biorefinery

Sunbird Bioenergy Sierra Leone Ethanol and Renewable Energy Factory.