Dublin - A delegation from Irish Greenfield Project Management Ltd has visited Minsk, Belarus. A prime objective of the journey was to conclude detailed agreements on supplies of feedstocks for the bioethanol plant, which is intended as a precursor to a wider programme to use biofuels production to clean up 40,000 sq km of land contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear explosion in 1986.
The visit too was to advance arrangements for the start of construction of its bioenergy plant at Mozyr. Led by CEO Michael Rietveld, the delegation met officials of local state companies including Greenfield's joint venture partner Belbiopharm, agriculture services company Belagroservice, Belarusbank, the Academy of Sciences, Ministry of Agriculture and other official bodies.
As Rietveld arrived to begin his round of meetings and discussions, the renowned science journal New Scientist published an article approving the thrust of the plan to clean up the Chernobyl lands and quoting Belarus government sources who favour it as a "number one priority".
The initial plant at Mozyr will be built in three phases, each producing 150,000 tonnes of bioethanol, together with biogas from waste and green electricity generated in a combined heat and power plant (CHP). Greenfield has lined up offtake partners and is at an advanced stage of project financing, so assuring consistent supplies of grain and/or sugar beet is a key requirement for completion of the project profile.
Initially, the feedstocks will be grown on uncontaminated land, but following field trials the Irish company plans to use crops grown in contaminated zones. Using the entire plant will permanently take away contaminants absorbed in its roots and stalks, with the further advantage of not diverting arable land suitable for food crops to production of biofuels, a problem elsewhere in the world.