What we do
AfriRen works with European industries that are looking for a stable, long-term and sustainable supply of biomass (wood chips or pellets). These industries include power generators, MDF (medium-density fibreboard) industrials, pellet producers and energy traders.
In Africa, we work with local partners to extract biomass from existing operations, like rubber tree or palm oil plantations, and to add value either by generating local electricity or by exporting the surplus biomass to North West Europe.
What we do in Europe
In Europe, AfriRen works with end-users of biomass such as power generators, MDF (medium-density fibreboard) industrials, pellet producers and energy traders. We provide long-term reliable biomass supply contracts to our clients in the form of wood chips or wood pellets.
The diversity of end-users will continue to expand as European governments and private companies involved in the fight against climate change realise the potential of biomass as a solution.
Electricity generation and energy traders
Energy utilities in Europe are consistently looking for long-term, reliable biomass supply to meet their renewable energy and GHG emission reduction targets. Biomass utilization is an effective way of reducing emissions in existing coal-fired generation in Europe. In fact, extensive studies indicate that biomass will play a crucial role in assisting European utilities to hit their 202020 targets. Biomass is expected to account for about half of the total increase in renewable electricity generation in Europe by 2020. Biomass supply in Europe is insufficient and long-term contracts for biomass supply are becoming more desirable.
AfriRen’s European clients benefit from:
- Secured access to a stable supply from reliable partners controlling 150,000 hectares of rubber-tree and palm oil plantations
- Our permanent presence in both West Africa and Europe; we are close to both the source of supply and demand
- Our expertise in international commodity trading in oil and gas, renewable energy and carbon; we have a deep understanding of the drivers of demand
- Our extensive experience in the logistics and management of biomass resources
- A firm commitment to transparency, accountability and sustainable development for all our projects. We strictly apply the most stringent international certification and qualification standards for that purpose, including FSC Controlled Wood Standard and EU Biomass Sustainability Guidelines
Role of Biomass in Meeting Europe's RE Target 1
Role of Biomass in Meeting Europe's RE Target 2
What we do in Africa
AfriRen collaborates with African counterparties that have access to large biomass inventories. These might be large agroindustrial plantations or smaller outgrowers organised under farm associations, cultivating rubber or palm oil trees. In both cases, the objective is to release the value embedded in the underutilised biomass, either by developing local power generation projects or exporting the biomass in the form of wood chips or pellets to international markets.
We offer the following advantages to our African partners:
- Our extensive experience in international energy trading markets: oil+gas, coal, biomass and carbon credits
- Our extensive experience in the logistics of moving physical commodities in and out of Africa, for example detailed monitoring of logistics for the export of biomass to European markets
- An excellent network of contacts in the West African region built up over 25 years. We have a permanent presence in Accra and Abidjan
- Access to finance for feasibility studies, project development, and capacity building expertise to ensure the successful launch of new projects
AfriRen already works with major corporations in the region including SIFCA, GREL and Biokala in order to connect them to the green energy economy.
Together with our partners, AfriRen is able to:
- Introduce new methodologies for harvesting through innovative equipment and techniques
- Create green and sustainable jobs for the local community
- Help large industrial or small individual local farmer plantations reach sustainability by fostering replanting programs (e.g., replacing non-producing rubber-trees with new ones)
- Participate in the fight against primary forest deforestation by promoting sustainable replanting programs
- Provide a platform for renewable energy production in the region, primarily via biomass co-generation plants
- Provide additional sources of income to local planters by exporting surplus biomass to Europe
In the heart of darkness
|Africa is the largest and most populous continent in the world after Asia. Covering one-fifth of the available land area worldwide, its 53 countries are home to over 900 million people of whom more than half do not have access to electricity. In fact, most African countries are only able to provide direct access to electricity to 20% of their population. This number is as low as 5% in some countries.
Most of the time, the same scenario repeats itself: ageing power generation and distribution networks dating back to the late colonial period of the 1950s and 60s cannot cope with growing demand. Strong demographic growth (between 5% and 8 %) is pushing electricity demand to the limit of national capacity; the widespread lack of public finance hinders the implementation of even minimum infrastructure maintenance programs.
To complicate things further, electricity grids are “leaking” – losing revenues from non-paying customers – while interconnectivity between national grids is very limited, so the prevailing trend is for an increase of diesel consumption to supply imported generators. The graphs below illustrate the use of electricity worldwide, alongside the number of people without electricity between 1970 and 2000, with forecasts for 2030. Of all regions in the world, Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest electricity use per capita and is the only region where the number of people without electricity is forecast to grow in the years approaching 2030.
What we do in Africa
Climate Change is a major issue in the African context. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has made clear that climate change will disproportionally affect those with the lowest income, particularly in Africa. Rainfall and water shortages, already prevalent in Africa are expected to worsen over the coming decades. Desertification and environmental security are also critical issues in Africa and climate change has negative implications for both.
At the same time, access to energy is essential in order to reduce poverty and promote economic growth. African nations would benefit significantly in the longer term by investing today in renewable energy sources, reducing their dependence on fossil fuels whilst avoiding some of the major issues that the most developed economies face today in relation to changing their energy mix in the face of climate change.
Biomass is a wealth that Africa should be able to use as a platform for economic development
Sub-Saharan Africa has conditions conducive to supplying biomass on a large-scale, sustainable basis. This can be sourced from existing agro-industrial plantations without threatening the large rainforests in the area. In fact, conserving this natural forest is extremely important. With care, expanding the use of biomass for energy purposes can not only help combat climate change worldwide but can also address the energy generation shortages across the region.
The map to the right shows the existing bioenergy potential in Sub-Saharan Africa and the existing biomass trade flows worldwide. Despite Africa’s clear potential, the continent lags behind other regions in terms of both domestic consumption and export. It is AfriRen’s ambition to crystallize the progress of renewable energy, specifically biomass, in Africa while creating value for our partners and local African communities.