Bioenergy

Biomass Plans Unveiled by Libra

Waste-to-energy company Libra Natural Resources Plc has announced a series of major strategic moves to create a focused biomass-to-energy business. Designed to provide a platform for the accelerated development of a significant force in the international renewable energy marketplace, Libra has acquired Coeur d’Alene Fiber Fuels Inc. (CAFF), a U.S.-based producer of wood pellets, for US $3 million. The cost could rise to US $9 million with profitability milestone achievements between 2009 and 2014. The acquisition will double Libra’s pellet producing capacity.

In addition, the company has signed a Heads of Agreement deal with Heilongjiang SY Renewable Energy Co. Ltd (SY Energy) of Heilongjiang Province, China, and SBC International, Canada, creating a joint venture vehicle to provide biomass pellets to the Chinese market. Initially, the purpose of the joint venture is to construct, commission and own a series of facilities for the production of biofuels from corn residues, rice husks, rice stalk, agricultural straw-based biofuels and other woody biomass products in the Jiangsu Province of China. The output will be used in power generation and SBC has already constructed and commissioned a 50,000 ton demonstration facility in the city of Baoying, China.

The demonstration facility, ownership of which will be assumed by the joint venture, commenced operations in March and there are plans to further develop this site into a 100,000 ton per year operational plant, with full production in place by the end of 2008. The estimated total initial investment for this first 100,000-ton operational plant is US $1.15 million and the joint venture plans to produce 1 million tons of biofuels by 2010, moving to 5 million tons by 2012. Libra will own approximately 25% of the equity of the joint venture.

Libra, which will also sell off all its remaining non-wood pellet operations to Evergreen Securities Plc, plans to change its name to FibreGen plc to reflect its new business strategy.

“The acquisition of Coeur d’Alene Fiber Fuels Inc, which almost doubles the size of our core business, represents a powerful statement of intent to become the world’s leading producer of wood pellets for bio-energy generation. The proposed formation of our Chinese joint venture, with strong in-country and experienced partners, emphasises the company’s commitment to prudently grow our business internationally, where the right opportunities present themselves,” said Glenn Smith, CEO Libra.