Most experienced wood recycling and biomass producer in Africa

Africa Biomass Company has the most experience in wood recycling and biomass production in Africa. Dimensional wood chips are produced by the removal of alien invasive trees in riparian zones. We then use these chips as a sustainable alternative to coal, putting us at forefront of wood recycling practices.

These wood chips are then used in agri-industrial applications as a greener alternative to coal to produce either heat or electricity.

Wood chips produced from invasive alien trees in the Western Cape, South Africa, have a net calorific value of 15.5 (± 0.5 GJ/t), making it the best alternative to replace coal.

Heaps of Biomass wood chips by Africa Biomass Company
Invasive Alien Trees in the Riparian Zones in the Western Cape

Is there enough biomass in South Africa?

Resource surveys carried out in the Western Cape, South Africa (audited by CSIR), confirm that sufficient biomass chips are available to replace coal used by agri-industries in that province.

The surveys confirm that approximately 150 000 t.p.a. of unwanted invasive alien trees in riparian zones of the Breede, Zonderend and Berg Rivers exist for harvesting for the next 20 years and beyond.

Why invasive alien trees in riparian zones?

By harvesting these trees, water levels in river systems will increase, the risk of bush fires is reduced and the original fynbos and palmiet systems will return.

Zooming in on Broiler House heating

Physical trials by Africa Biomass Company [ABC] & Calore Sustainable Energy [CSE] on broiler house heating exclusively prove that the efficiency of the modern wood-fired systems outperforms the traditional coal-fired heaters by far.

Using wood chips is a viable alternative to coal, especially in the poultry industry for decentralised heating of broiler houses, as well as for central hot water boilers for hatcheries and broiler houses with central heating systems. It economically competes with coal and outperforms coal in all environmental aspects.

The environmental benefits of using a renewable biofuel are so overwhelming that coal will most likely be phased out over the next couple of years in the poultry industry.

Wood chips thrown into a hopper of a wood-fired burner

Thermal energy cost comparison between wood chips and lignite coal

The below table compares the thermal energy cost of biomass chips, supplied by Africa Biomass Company, with lignite coal in the Western Cape province.

Average bulk price (VAT & carbon tax excl.) delivered to site [ZAR] 940 1 840
Carbon Tax implication [ZAR] 0 180
Total fuel costs [ZAR] 940 2 020
Average Calorific Value (GJ/t) @ 15% moisture content 15.5 24.5
ENERGY COST [ZAR/GJ] 60.65 82.45
Percentage saving 0 26.44%
Average ash content 1.6% 20 - 24%


From above table wood chips is 26% cheaper in the Western Cape. When burner and heat exchanger efficiencies are considered, the wood-fired application is a lot more cost effective.

The table below shows the costs related to SO2 emissions and the high volumes of ash to be disposed to certified landfill sites, or certified end-users.

Typical decentralised heating system for a 100m long x 28 000 chicken broiler house of a typical production cycle in Spring [kg] 10 360 13918
Average fuel cost delivered to site (VAT excluded) [ZAR/kg] 1.84 0.94
Carbon Tax effect on price [ZAR/kg] 0.18 0
Total fuel cost [ZAR/kg] 2.02 0.94
Total fuel cost per house for measured Spring cycle [ZAR] 20 927 13 083
Fuel cost comparison percentage 160% 100%
Ash generage [kg] 2 280 209
SO2 emissions generated [kg] 104 5
Can Africa Biomass Company provide biomass to other countries?

The short and simple answer is, yes. Africa Biomass Company has the infrastructure and capability to harvest wood chips from invasive alien trees in riparian zones and transport this biomass, in shipping containers via shipping lines, to other countries.

The hard and abrasive wood in South Africa makes it a sought-after biomass to be used in generating electricity in, especially European countries.

These ‘dimensional’ wood chips have the following specifications:

  • Moisture content @ 15 – 35%
  • Particle size distribution to fit the in-feed apparatus
  • Net calorific value @ 15.5 ± 0.5 GJ/t

Sulphur content of fuels


Heavy Furnace Oil (HFO) 3.25%
Low Sulphur HFO (LSO) 1.7%
Low Sulphur HFO (LSO) 0.5 – 0.7%
A Grade Coal 1.0 – 1.3%
B Grade Coal 0.00 – 0.08%
Biomass 0%
Methane Rich Gas 0%

One of the major disadvantages of coal and heavy furnace oils are their high sulphur content. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) is emitted when sulphur-containing fuels are burnt in the presence of oxygen.

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