China New Energy Ltd. has signed an agreement with Sunbird Bioenergy Africa to develop two biorefineries, one each in Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Under the terms of the agreement, CNE will be responsible for designing the two biorefineries and supplying the key operating components including pre-treatment of feedstock, fermentation, distillation and dehydration, as well as project management and support services. Richard Bennett, a CNE director, is also a director of Sunbird.
In Zimbabwe, CNE will assist Sunbird Bioenergy to develop a bioenergy project that, at full capacity, is intended to deliver 120 million litres of fuel grade ethanol for the government’s biofuel blending programme. The project is expected to cost US$50 million.
Construction is due to start in 2016 and commercial operations in late 2017.
In Zambia, Sunbird Bioenergy is at an advanced stage of negotiations with the government to develop a project on the Luena Farm block in Luapula province. “Whilst representatives of the Zambian government have publically stated that the project shall proceed, Sunbird Bioenergy is still finalising the terms of the transaction and the necessary contracts,” CNE said in a statement.