Coega Biomass Centre


Coega Biomass Centre

In Port Elizabeth, South Africa, a plant for the production of pellets from solid biomass residues will be put into operation again: Coega Biomass Centre. Hive Energy (UK), iLive (SA) and Partners for Innovation (NL) have teamed up to provide the local community with access to clean energy, create about 900 jobs and beneficiate unused biomass residues. The project is in one of South Africa’s Special Economic Zones, which are designed to attract foreign investment to boost local economic growth.

Coega Biomass CentreThe project aims to demonstrate the feasibility and sustainability of biomass supply chains, and hoping to unlock more biomass sources and end-uses in the South African market. Under the new name Coega Biomass Centre, first the production of white pellets will commence in 2021 White pellets are perfectly suited to be burned in clean cooking devices, in industrial furnaces for steam and power production and as a substitute for coal to produce electricity or biofuels. The partners will undertake a full refurbishment of the factory. The factory is expected to be operational in July 2021, with full capacity – 120,000 tons annually – being reached before the end of 2021.


The consortium is also researching the feasibility and viability of introducing an innovative drying and torrefaction technology. With this technology the plant will be able to also produce black pellets. Black pellets have a number of advantages over white pellets, especially when transported over long distances. In addition, the feedstock used to produce black pellets is less critical than for white pellets. This will allow us to beneficiate biomass residues – such as forestry residues –  that would otherwise being left in the field to rot, producing methane which has a 25 times higher GHG impact than CO₂, or municipal garden and parc residues being landfilled. In total an estimate of 200,000 tons of CO₂ off-sets per annum could be reached with the biomass pellet usage.

Beneficiate from biomass residues

When operational, Coega Biomass Centre will provide about 100 jobs directly with another 800 jobs indirectly, related to the collection, pre-processing and transportation of biomass residues. In total the pellet factory requires 160 thousand tons of feedstock each year. There are several biomass residual flows in South Africa that are ideally suited for the production of sustainable pellets. First of all, residual material from forestry and sawdust from sawmills. In addition, the biomass plant will be fed by local invasive species that threaten the water supply and wreaked havoc on the local environment and economy. Furthermore, green waste from gardens and municipal parks that now ends up in landfills is given a good destination. To guarantee sustainability, a system for the certification of individual biobased raw materials will be set up.

First-rate pellets

Test results indicate that Coega Biomass Centre is primed to produce first-rate pellets from biomass residue streams. The tests were conducted on two mixed batches of pellets made up of the most common woody residue streams in the area. Both mixes were treated by a press similar to the one used at Coega Biomass Centre. The quality conforms to the highest industrial standards required for co-firing in power plants. Click here for more information.

i1 standard Pellet sample 1 Pellet sample 2
Ash content (weight% DM) ≤ 1,0% 0,55% 0,51%
Bulk density (kg/m3) ≥ 600 633 660
Net caloric value (GJ/ton) ≥ 16,5 17,13 17,13
Moisture content (weight%) ≤ 10% 6,09 6,77
Durability (%) 97,5-99% 98 97

Partners in International Business

This project is a major spin off of the Partners for International Business project ‘Solid biomass opportunities in South Africa’, in which six Dutch companies, supported by the Dutch government, work together with South Africa to develop successful business cases for sustainable biomass value chains.

For more information about our bioenergy activities, click here or contact Emiel Hanekamp.

With this project we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations:

SDG 7 sdg 8 SDG 17 SDG 6


Also view our other projects.


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Emiel Hanekamp +31 (0)6 -5154 2539