Hive Energy (United Kingdom), iLive Sustainable Development (South Africa) and Partners for Innovation (Netherlands) have joined forces to establish Coega Biomass Centre, Africa’s largest wood pellet export plant.

An international consortium will establish Africa’s largest wood pellet export plant. Credit: Hive Energy

An international consortium will establish Africa’s largest wood pellet export plant. Credit: Hive Energy

 The company funded by Hive Energy has taken over and will restore the existing non-operational plant which will deliver 100 jobs directly with another 700 jobs indirectly. The plant will produce high quality wood pellets resulting in environmental benefits and will replace dirty coal, charcoal, and anthracite. The factory is expected to be operational in July 2021, with full capacity being reached before the end of 2021.

The Coega Biomass Centre, located in Port Elizabeth, will bring socio economic and environmental benefits to the local area. The plant, requiring 160 thousand tons of feedstock each year, will be fed by sustainable pellets produced using biomass residues, non-indigenous forest and destructive invasive vegetation, restoring indigenous vegetation and improving water supplies. The project is in one of South Africa’s Special Economic Zones (SEZs), which are designed to attract foreign investment to boost local economic growth

The venture between British green energy developer Hive Energy and South African sustainable development firm iLive and their project developer Partners for Innovation purchased the plant from business rescue. In total, the partners will invest R50-million (3million euros) in the first phase; the refurbishment and recommissioning of the factory. Further investments in the factory are expected in the near future. The partners will undertake a full refurbishment of the biomass plant, expected to take between 6 and 9 months.

For Hive Energy, the venture is one of the first in its mission to deliver beyond solar. Hive Energy are developing over 2.8GW of solar project globally and are committed to tackling global climate change by delivering green and sustainable solutions across the circular economy.

Hive Energy have long term investment plans in South Africa’s clean growth programme. Company CEO Giles Redpath has labelled South Africa as: “the best place on Earth to produce green hydrogen”, owing to the country’s high onshore wind load factors and strong solar radiation levels. Hive Energy are pursuing opportunities in green hydrogen and continue to grow an ambitious pipeline of solar generation to power South Africa’s local municipalities. Hive are also seeking to invest in opportunities across the circular economy including energy from waste and recycling projects.

The Coega Biomass Centre is both a locally and globally sustainable green energy solution for Hive Energy as they continue their vision to develop world-class assets that generate benefits for the environment, investors, landowners and local economies.

This project is an excellent opportunity for Hive Energy to show how a just green transition can take place, because not only will we create thousands of jobs for local residents in an area of massive employment, but also it will also vastly benefit local ecosystems. 

 Beyond the local benefits, this project will help deliver clean energy to create transformational change to help deliver a cleaner future for all. This is a true win for the local circular economy and for Hive’s international green mission,” says Hive Energy’s South Africa manager Colin Loubser.