Ivory Coast has teamed up with the US Trade and Development Agency in its plans to build the first biomass power station in the world to be fuelled by waste from cocoa production. The West African country is the world’s biggest producer of cocoa and has seen its trade with the US grow by 55% between 2012 and 2017, with further growth predicted into 2025. It is estimated that a plant such as this would save 250,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and if successful, nine more would be built through further funding from the US.
Biomass-fuelled power stations may be more environmentally sound than those using traditional fuels such as coal or gas by reducing the levels of CO2 gas emissions. However, could there be a more beneficial way of using cocoa by-products such as soil amendment or composting? Since incineration of biomass will still release considerable emissions into the atmosphere: could greater environmental gains be made through investing in renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar? Or is this simply the simplest and most economic choice available in a country that is struggling to keep up with growth needed to develop?