16 February 2012 – Takoradi Renewable Energy Limited, a subsidiary of Africa Renewables Ltd (AfriRen), the biomass producer and trader, has secured a credit facility of US$5 million from Standard Chartered Bank in Ghana to support its first biomass energy project in Africa.
 
After deals with Ghana Rubber Estates Ltd (GREL) and Verdo Energy, the loan finalises AfriRen’s Ghana distribution chain and should see the company double total biomass exports from Africa to Europe by 2016.
 
Founded in 2010, AfriRen will invest a total of US$8 million in its biomass extraction chain in Ghana and will seek further funding of up to US$30 million to replicate the project across the West African region, benefitting from the upswing in European demand for biomass.
 
AfriRen harvests redundant rubber trees that are cut in order to prepare for replanting, and processes them into woodchips, helping displace the burning of coal and assisting Europe meet its renewable energy policy target.
 
The US$5 million credit facility is split between two components. One is a capital expenditure loan of US$3 million, which will be spent on a variety of new assets including development of their existing land near the port of Takoradi into a factory workshop and storage space for the woodchips. The second component is a working capital facility of US$2 million for operational expenses.
 
In October 2011 AfriRen signed an exclusive five year supply agreement with Danish utility company Verdo for the entire woodchip production of its first Africa project. AfriRen estimates the total biomass to be delivered over the contract period will be 750,000 tonnes, effectively doubling biomass exports from Africa to Europe. Denmark has a 30% renewable energy target by 2020, compared to 20% for the overall European Union.
 
The project is facilitated by an eight-year partnership with GREL, a subsidiary of SIFCA, the leading West African agro-industrial group with a €600 million turnover.

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