A 20,000 Ha nucleus farm and out-grower program to produce sustainable agricultural feedstock for our biorefinery.
The biorefinery converts the sustainably produced feedstock into renewable fuel, power and other by-products.
Sustainability is deeply embedded in Sunbird Bioenergy’s everyday business.
The company has been designed and developed as a benchmark for sustainable investment in Africa.
Sunbird Bioenergy launches a cassava out-grower program in Kawamwba, Luapula Province. 2,500 out-growers have been recruited for the current season. The out-grower program will scale up to create 20,000 economic opportunities for small-scale farmers.
Completion of the cassava nursery that will provide high-quality planting materials for 20,000 Ha of land. It also serves as a location for small-scale farmer training and knowledge transfer.
Incorporation of Sunbird Bioenergy: His Excellency President Lungu launches Sunbird Bioenergy in Kawambwa, Luapula Province, Zambia.
The company is developing a strategic bioenergy project that will produce 20% of the country’s petroleum in a cassava-to-bioethanol biorefinery.
Currently, in development, the biorefinery is expected to be commissioned in 2022 and commence producing renewable fuel and power. At full operating capacity, it will produce:
120 million litres of bioethanol per annum
32 MW of renewable power
The project has been designed to be a benchmark for sustainable investment in Africa and will deliver on many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (or “SDGs”). The benefits for the country include:
20,000 economic opportunities for cassava out-growers
500 jobs at the biorefinery
$100 million import substitution of petroleum products
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Deliver energy security
The nucleus farm produces sustainable agricultural feedstock for the biorefinery.
The nucleus farm is located on the Luena farm block in Luapula Province.
Cassava has been selected as the primary feedstock for the project because it is most suited to the local agricultural conditions. It is rich in starch that it is easy to convert into renewable fuel, and cost-effective for both the nucleus farm and out-growers.
The nucleus farm and out-grower program will yield 600,000 tonnes of cassava per year. This is grown on new dedicated land within the Luana farm block and separate from the food supply chain.
Our nursery supports our out-grower program with high-quality planting materials, training and knowledge transfer programs.
A 1,000 Ha cassava nursery and cassava multiplication farm has been created to supply high-quality planting materials to the out-growers. The cassava varieties have been selected for both disease and drought resistance, as well as their fast growth cycle and starch production, which in-turn maximise the financial return for the out-growers.
The nursery also runs our training programs to transfer knowledge and best practices to our out-growers and other small-scale farmers.
Sunbird expects to recruit 20,000 out-growers and small-scale farmers to grow cassava feedstock for the project.
The out-grower program is an important component of the project as the project is designed to deliver substantial rural and economic development in a very poor area of the country.
The company has developed an out-grower program that provides planting materials and agricultural inputs to the registered farmers at the beginning of each season. We undertake to buy all of the cassava that they produce at a pre-agreed competitive price.
The company has a network of extension officers who monitor the progress of the out-growers and deliver training and education programs. We aim to help increase their overall productivity and profitability and monitor compliance with our food security policies.
The biorefinery will produce more than 100 million litres of renewable fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%.
The biorefinery will produce anhydrous bioethanol (ethyl alcohol) v/v 99.6% that complies with the international EN 15376 fuel standard.
The bioethanol will be distributed to regional fuel depots where it will be blended into the fuel supply chain in 10% (E10), 20% (E20) and 85% (E85) ratios. The bioethanol will reduce fossil fuel imports and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses.
Waste from the biorefinery and other biomass will be converted into renewable power.
In phase 1, the company will install an anaerobic digestion plant to convert waste water into biogas. A turbine will convert the biogas into power for the biorefinery and other local micro-grid customers.
In phase 2, biomass and other municipal waste will be converted into power in a biomass thermal power plant. Power will be evacuated to the national grid and sold by Zesco.
The bioenergy project will support the future transition to hydrogen and electrification.
Sunbird Bioenergy has a development roadmap to produce future fuels in Kawamwba to support the energy transition and decarbonise the transportation sector.
The first step is to produce green-hydrogen from our excess renewable power for early adopters, particularly the extractive mining industries, who are switching to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for their underground mining operations.
As the energy transition progresses, we will scale up the production of green-hydrogen and investigate other fuels such as biomethane and green ammonia.