Alfen to create sustainable energy installation for Theobroma

By Nell Walker
Dutch energy equipment company, Alfen B.V., is constructing a large sustainable energy installation for the

Dutch energy equipment company, Alfen B.V., is constructing a large sustainable energy installation for the Theobroma cacao factory in Nigeria.

The system will combine solar power, bio energy from cocoa shells, and large-scale battery storage to sustainably produce energy and steam, guaranteeing a reliable energy supply. It will also cut operational costs and carbon emissions, saving over a million litres of diesel per year.

The energy grid in Nigeria is not always reliable, and as such, Theobroma – which processes cocoa beans to make high-end cacao products for the chocolate industry – uses diesel generators for its power. This, of course, causes pollution, is expensive, and is not always available locally.

Alfen was awarded the contract to build a sustainable end-to-end energy installation for Theobroma, composed in part of over 8,000 solar panels that will be installed on roofs and the factory terrain of its facility. This will be combined with Alfen’s in-house developed battery storage system to optimise the generated electricity, and the bio energy created with cocoa bean waste.

Evert Raaijen, Sales Engineer Energy Storage at Alfen, said: “With two energy storage systems of approximately 1 MWh each, this is the largest local energy storage project in Nigeria. With the combination of solar energy and battery storage, we expect to help Theobroma attain an annual saving of over one million liters of diesel”.

Alfen is carrying out the entire project, from design to maintenance, and the project should be completed in 2018.

Raaigen continued: “The installation we’re building for Theobroma is a combination of system innovations, integrated with existing solutions. We are highly specialized in complex system integrations with energy storage solutions such as these systems. Theobroma will be able to remotely monitor performance with our back office system, while maximum savings are attained with smart power management features. Furthermore, this installation is a modular system, which enables quick and easy future upscaling.”

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