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

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

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.

February 23, 2010


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