China New Energy Limited (CNE) has announced that Sunbird Bioenergy Limited, its project partner in Africa, has signed an agreement with the Republic of Zimbabwe to develop a 120 million litre cassava to bioethanol plant in the Machonaland Central Province of the country.
CNE will enter into an MOU with Sunbird shortly for the project. It is intended that CNE will design the plant and supply the key fermentation, distillation and dehydration technology as well as providing commissioning and ongoing support and maintenance services. The bioethanol plant will be designed using the company's proprietary cassava to ethanol technology that has been successfully commissioned, and is now fully operations, in Thailand.
It is the intention of Sunbird and CNE to complete the project design by February 2016 with an independent company completing an environmental impact assessment. Financial closure for the project is anticipated in Q1 2016, with the project being commissioned in late 2017.
Commenting on the agreement with Sunbird, the British Ambassador to Zimbabwe said:
"We welcome this development as it signifies a positive step in the strengthening of UK Zimbabwe trade and investment relations. As you know, the signing of this deal is a follow-up of the UK led Trade Delegation that came to Zimbabwe in February of this year. With the right policies, the trade mission visits can translate to tangible investment for Zimbabwe."