Energy value of waste from African agro-industry by the deployment of gases developed and operated by the IED group in Cambodia: the AGROGAZELEC project.
The French Global Environment Fund, FFEM, supports this transfer of know-how that will both control the environmental problem of waste management and meet the electricity and heat needs of agro-industries, thus contributing to their competitiveness. The launch meeting took place on June 3rd in our office premises. The project will focus on the cashew sector.
Agro-industrial cashew production in West Africa is a major development challenge with a turnover of more than 2.7 billion euros. Today, the vast majority of this production is exported, mainly to Vietnam, to be processed and made fit for consumption. One of the major challenges of this sector today is to develop a processing capacity at the production sites, in order to maximize the added value for these producing countries and to minimise the ecological impact of the sector. Many West African countries, such as Côte d'Ivoire and Benin, are pushing in this direction.
However, this development involves being well prepared: the operation of processing plants drastically increases the electricity bill, and the final waste represents a major environmental challenge; indeed, the cashew shell is particularly acidic and can neithert be stored, at the risk of degrading the soils, nor burned in piles, which causes a persistent smell for several kilometers around.
In this context, the IED Group has developed, in partnership with a network of SMEs in Cambodia, a technology of gasogens for the production of electricity by burning organic waste (rice ball, cashew shell, etc.). This solution responds both to the environmental challenge by the complete combustion of cashew shells, but also to the economic challenge of supplying the processing plant with electricity. With more than 5 years of experience building and operating biomass power plants in Cambodia through its sister company IEDInvest, which also carries the development and financing of power plants,, IED is now working to replicate the model in West Africa. IED is working on this project in partnership with CIRAD, a research unit on the development of biomass energy, and Nitidae, which has in-depth knowledge of the agricultural and agribusiness sectors in West Africa and technical and institutional expertise in the cashew sector in Africa.
The next steps in this innovative project are to adapt the concept developed in Cambodia in Côte d'Ivoire and Benin, with the focus on building the first power plant in Africa by 2022.