The country’s most advanced coal bed methane (CBM) developer, Tlou Energy, is leading the shift towards a cleaner energy future for Botswana and the region, as it advances solar and hydrogen production at its 10 licences.
Tlou Energy’s flagship Lesedi project has a verified 252 billion cubic feet of CBM near Lephephe, capable of generating 100 megawatts of electricity over 25 years. The project already has a mining licence and Tlou is finalising off-take arrangements with the Botswana Power Corporation as well as financial transactions with funders. The company, however, is broadening its scope to create a clean energy district in Central Botswana over its prospecting licences which cover nearly 10,000 square metres.
Managing director, Tony Gilby told BusinessWeek that Tlou Energy is pioneering the development of hydrogen as a clean energy fuel at the Lesedi Power Plant site. He said Lesedi is ideally located to be a regional hydrogen production and distribution hub noting that hydrogen can be produced at Lesedi using solar and water, which could be a fully renewable energy source for transportation purposes. “Hydrogen, when burned in a vehicle, produces zero greenhouse gas emissions and will allow the country to be a regional pioneer in this revolutionary form of clean energy transport,” he said, in response to emailed questions. Carbon neutral biodiesel is also being investigated and the Tlou site offers many advantages for this proven process that can increase employment opportunities plus reduce the reliance on imported hydrocarbons, Gilby said. Clean cooking fuels are another potential benefit to society.
“The Orapa Diamond
Gilby added Tlou Energy is also advancing a solar project at Lesedi which will allow the company to initially power its wellsite and field operations. The company will then expand to supply power into the national grid and therefore meet some of the country’s clean energy objectives. He said the government has been very encouraging and has been quick to adopt policies supporting leading clean energy practices, pointing out that the private industry has to take lead, particularly Tlou Energy, to make this happen. Tlou Energy still needs to raise additional capital to expand and further develop the Lesedi project. This comes after the company successfully raised P24 million to fund and meet working capital requirements towards the country’s first CBM project. “Tlou’s largest shareholder is the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) and therefore the pensioners of Botswana will benefit most from Tlou’s success. Employment opportunities in the Central District region will also continue to grow as Tlou advances,“ he said.
BPOPF currently holds a 10.4% stake in Tlou Energy.