Glendale Valley demonstration biogas plant
The use of waste cane tops and trash (which forms 30-40% of the cane crop) together with “Kahle” (mill reject stalk) cane, as a potential fuel source to optimise sugar cane farming was put forward by Dr Thomas Funke of the SA Cane Growers Association in the latter half of 2013 when the concept was refined and further corroboratory studies were undertaken. Dr Funke subsequently took up the proposal with the Department Land Reform and Rural Development, Department of Agriculture, Local Municipality, Gledhow Sugar Company and the Qwabe Tribal Authority in May 2014.This was followed by Sucropower making presentations to the Gledhow Sugar Company and Qwabe Tribal Authority in July 2014 who in turn submitted a power plant proposal to the Department Agriculture and Rural Development for approval for the demonstration plant to be erected within tribal land.
The outcome was a project is to create a demonstration bio-gas plant fuelled by sugarcane crop residue for cane growers of the Qwabe Trust Authority (QTA) in the Glendale Valley, Northern KwaZulu-Natal. The objective was to prove the viability of producing bio-gas that can be used to enhance the viability of the tribal trust’s sugarcane farming operations as well as create jobs from the opportunities for further downstream business operations within the community. The power plant formed part of the QTA development plan to establish a Central Services Base for the community with an energy centre, trading store and library with ATM facilities. These amenities were 40km away and the Base was also be utilised as a power plant operations training and research facility.
In 2014 Sucropower embarked on securing 55% project funding which was successfully achieved from the EEP on 12 May 2015. The balance of the funds were due to come from the Qwabe Trust but this did not materialse. So, in February 2016 the project was moved to Thorny Park.