19 April 2017

Zimbabwe: Allied Timbers Seek Partner for Power Project

ALLIED Timbers Zimbabwe is seeking partners to establish a power generating plant that use timber waste material from its sawmills. The country's biggest timber processor said in a statement that it wanted to utilise saw dusts from its saw mills to produce power.

The company however did not give details on the size of the investment required to generate renewable energy using bio waste.

But an official with Allied Timbers said that "it makes a lot of sense for us to use the waste material to generate our own power".

Allied Timbers chief executive Dr Daniel Sithole could be reached for an official comment by the time of going to print yesterday.

Biomass is used for facility heating, electric power generation, and combined heat and power. The term biomass encompasses a large variety of materials, including wood from various sources, agricultural residues, and animal and human waste used to make power. Biomass can be converted into electric power through several methods. The most common process entails the direct combustion of biomass material, such as agricultural waste or woody materials.

Other options include gasification, pyrolysis, and anaerobic digestion. Gasification produces a synthesis gas with usable energy content by heating the biomass with less oxygen than needed for complete combustion. The pyrolysis process yields bio-oil by rapidly heating the biomass in the absence of oxygen. Anaerobic digestion produces a renewable natural gas when organic matter is decomposed by bacteria in the absence of oxygen.

Different methods work better with different types of biomass. Typically, woody biomass such as wood chips, pellets, and sawdust from saw mills are combusted or gasified to generate electricity.

Allied Timbers recently said that it was looking for partners to expand its processing capacity, as it seeks to meet demand for its products.

The increasing demand for residential accommodation in Zimbabwe has boosted demand for timber products, while demand from the region, Zambia and Botswana, gas also been growing.

The company, which owns 10 estates mostly in Manicaland Province, intends to make use of its huge resource base to lure investors with financial and technical capacity to enhance viability.

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