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Tseai Energy Unlimited Solidifies Plans for Pilot Biofuel Plant in Sierra Leone

Plant to Provide Electricity, Jobs to Underdeveloped Community

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  February 23, 2010

CONTACT:

Eric Schurr
301 405 3889
schurr@umd.edu

COLLEGE PARK, Md.—Tseai Energy Unlimited (www.tseai.com), an early-stage company that develops biofuel-generating agricultural processing plants to bring electricity to underdeveloped countries and boost their economies, today announces its team is traveling to Sierra Leone to lay the foundation for its first pilot program.

TEU installs small-scale agricultural processing plants that take full advantage of abundant local crops, employ local farmers and make commercial products in underdeveloped communities. The company adds biomass digesters to the plants, which convert leftover agricultural waste into biogas. That biogas is then used to produce electricity for locally built schools.

The College Park, Md.-based company, founded in 2009 by Trevor Young, a student in the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute's Hillman Entrepreneurs Program, plans to launch its first plant in the town of Mile 18 in Sierra Leone. The plant will process palm fruit, which is abundant in the region, into palm oil. Waste generated while making the palm oil is converted into biogas, which generates electricity.

"In cooperation with stakeholders here and in Sierra Leone, this is an opportunity to bring jobs, electricity, a good school and a medical clinic to a community that needs it," says Young, CEO of TEU. "Our goal is to acquire land parcels, as well as meet with developers, partners, farmers and government officials."

Starting February 19, TEU's team is spending two weeks in Sierra Leone. In addition to acquiring land parcels in Mile 18, their agenda includes meetings with:

  • Farmers, to establish a co-op to provide palm fruit for the plant
  • Schools for Salone, a non-profit organization committed to helping Sierra Leoneans rebuild the many rural schools destroyed during their country's 10-year conflict
  • A nearby health clinic that could be renovated to provide services to the community
  • Njala University, whose agronomists can help both the plant and farmers
  • Sierra Leone Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports
  • Sierra Leone Ministry of Agriculture and Food Safety
  • Contractors for building the plant and school

TEU won $10,000 in the undergraduate division and the $15,000 Warren Citrin Social Impact Award in the University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition in 2009.

The company's team includes Nnenna Nwosu, an alumnus of the University of Maryland's department of agricultural and resource economics, and Akua Nkrumah, a UM senior pursuing a degree in environmental science and technology with a specialization in ecological design.

TEU has worked closely with Stephanie Lansing, assistant professor in the department of environmental science and technology, to develop its small-scale, anaerobic digestion technology.

Former Hillman Entrepreneurs director Karen Thornton and current director Carolyn Karlson have played key roles in mentoring TEU's team.

About Tseai Energy Unlimited  (www.tseai.com
Established in May 2009, Tseai Energy Unlimited (TEU) is an early stage agricultural and renewable energy company focused on global social and economic development. The company installs small-scale agro-processing mills in rural communities to localize the production and commercialization of high-margin products from indigenous crops. Revenue generated is used to stimulate economic development and sustain social services. Waste from the mill is used to produce fertilizer and biogas, which is used to generate electricity.                  
About the Hillman Entrepreneurs Program (www.hillman.umd.edu) 
The Hillman Entrepreneurs Program, an innovative educational initiative of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, fosters entrepreneurship and community leadership in transfer students who begin their study at Prince George's Community College and complete their bachelor's degrees at the University of Maryland. The four-year scholarship program, launched in the fall 2006 through a generous $1.7 million gift from David and Suzanne Hillman, is targeted to students who have an interest in entrepreneurship and an enthusiasm for starting a business or leading a company. The program offers entrepreneurship and leadership courses, intense mentoring, networking opportunities, and community building to each of the students in the program.

About the A. James Clark School of Engineering

The University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering is a premier program, ranked among the top 20 in the world. Located just a few miles from Washington, D.C., the Clark School is at the center of a constellation of high-tech companies and federal laboratories, offering students and faculty access to unique professional opportunities.

Our broad spectrum of academic programs, including the world’s only accredited undergraduate fire protection engineering program, is complemented by a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, early hands-on educational experiences, and participation in national and international competitions.

The Clark School is leading research advancements in aerospace, bioengineering, robotics, nanotechnology, disaster resilience, energy and sustainability, and cybersecurity. From the universal product code to satellite radio, SMS text messaging to the implantable insulin pump, our students, faculty, and alumni are engineering life-changing innovations for millions. Learn more at www.eng.umd.edu.

 

 

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