Ceiba Forestry, LLC

Ceiba Forestry, LLC

Tonosi, PanamaSan Anselmo, United States
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Ceiba Forestry and Energy Agriculture creates value at the intersections of bioenergy and agroforestry in Latin America. Through the use of clean technologies and innovative land management strategies, our project development team converts biomass and oil crops into clean, sustainable energy and fuels.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

We address the need for affordable, sustainable energy access to rural communities via development models for the abundant, degraded and underutilized lands in Latin America. Such rural areas have high unemployment as well as high-energy prices, yet with abundant biomass waste streams and choice growth conditions on lands that are otherwise deforested or used for cattle production. Remote, rural economies are further dependent on imported fossil fuels for transportation and electricity with grid and fuel supply issues, while Ceiba’s small-scale, localized energy enterprises could provide stable employment as well as clean energy access for the rural poor. Rural energy sovereignty and sustainable biomass management create jobs, affordable energy, as well as strong returns for investors.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Ceiba plants energy crops on deforested and degraded lands; secures access to existing biomass waste streams (ag/forestry); designs and implements waste-to-energy systems using new-generation, modular and scalable waste-to-energy technologies. We revitalize landscapes and provide fast returns on energy investments by developing locally produced clean energy opportunities using waste streams and produced biomass -- converting both into pellets, bioelectricity, biofuels, biochar and cogenerated heat. Our project pipeline provides strong returns for investors, while using bioenergy and agroforestry systems to create jobs and affordable energy for the rural poor. Ceiba's alternative cropping systems and energy conversion technologies cut dependence on external sources of energy production, effectively "closing the loop" on tropical agroecosystem carbon cycles and while improving rural livelihoods.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Ceiba maximizes project returns by matching feedstocks with appropriate bioenergy technologies in developing economies with high energy consumption metrics, making smaller scale bioenergy an accessible enterprise. The bioenergy value chain begins with energy agriculture and tropical agroforestry systems which provide the feedstocks for bioenergy projects with technologies such as gasification and pyrolysis. Ceiba’s energy agriculture team grows and manages fast-growing oil crops, biomass crops and timbers to provide a continuous feedstock supply -- often in conjunction with other existing agriculture or forestry waste -- increasing project reliability and viability. Our agronomists and foresters plan and implement strategies with fast-growing oil and biomass crops, bamboo and precious hardwoods for oil, timber and biomass production. We hire local community members in all aspects of our operations, and offer employees the opportunity for training and upward mobility within the company. These strategies underpin bioenergy project stability, maximize land productivity and asset value with multiple timescale revenue streams. Ceiba monetizes this value, with a team well-versed in feedstock contract negotiation, PPA acquisition, project finance, as well as corporate structuring -- assuring successful implementation. We help to green and stabilize the grid, reducing transmission and transport losses of energy. Our production systems support more biodiversity than competing uses (eg cattle), and can boost local production of new crops, increasing agroecosystem diversity.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Ceiba's peer companies in the bioenergy project development sphere that have reached later stages include: Nordic Bioenergy, Phoenix Energy, SG Biofuels, and Pelletics, although many do not produce their own biomass feedstocks. Further competition arises from traditional hydrocarbon energy producers. Competition for available biomass has increased over the last decade with more bioenergy projects as well as demand for timber, pulp and paper, fuelwood, sustainable building materials, and composting. We produce our own biomass as well as expand our land assets to ensure project viability, as well as offer investors access to quality land portfolios. Competition for land with cattle, food production, other bioenergy producers, real estate as well as urbanization should be considered.

Founding Story

Ceiba's founders met in Cartagena, Colombia, one was managing an underperforming teak plantation and designing forest investments, while the other was developing mid-level biomass to energy opportunities with a gasification company. We realized that we had found a way to generate major value from abundant harvest slash and milling waste, as a feedstock for bioenergy projects. To go even further, we realized that with our land access, planting experience, and personal networks in Latin America that we were able to grow our OWN feedstocks to assure the biomass supply chain and securing project viability. In the high energy price economies of Latin America, modular and scalable biomass to energy plays are viable and potentially quite lucrative. Through a commitment to the ideal of sustainable rural landscapes in Latin America, and our desire to drive clean energy initiatives in developing markets, we started Ceiba to develop high impact energy projects.
About You
About You
First Name


Tell us about yourself/your team.

Ceiba exists at the intersection of bioenergy and agroforestry in developing economies. We create innovative rural agroecosystems with biomass-based energy development opportunities. We focus on the high price energy economies of Latin America, linking new bioenergy technology with existing waste streams, and/or our own high-energy biomass feedstocks to increase project viability and enhance clean tech energy options in rural areas. By rehabilitating deforested or degraded lands, we reinvigorate damaged landscapes, while allowing for rural energy sovereignty and sustainable development. We are a dynamic team, able to source and develop a wide spectrum of projects, with proven track records for project success in the US, Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

What makes you an intrapreneur? What are the skills, capabilities, and personality traits that make you an intrapreneur?

Ceiba’s 'intrantrepreneurial' team identifies unique opportunities in developing energy economies. Local knowledge, market access, new technologies and the capacity to link clean technologies with the right feedstocks are what sets our company apart. We are able to navigate the complex political economies of project locales with language skills and long track records of successful international entrepreneurial experience. Integrity, tenacity, cultural fluency, and a robust interdisciplinary experience base, complemented by our ability to stay flexible with lean, early-stage strategies afford us a business development advantage in the global bioenergy marketplace.

About Your Organization
Company Country

, CA, San Anselmo, Marin County

Primary country where this project is creating social impact

, LS, Tonosi

Additional countries or regions

Veraguas, Cocle, Colombia, California, Florida, Costa Rica



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Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Growth (your pilot is up and running, and starting to expand)

The Solution: Why is this solution innovative for your company and industry?

Many bioenergy firms concentrate on large capital investments in centralized locations. Ceiba focuses on small to mid scale, modular and scalable projects that capitalize on the abundant biomass to bring clean, affordable energy to rural areas. Our Latin American networks enable us to secure the biomass supply chain and further produce our own sustainable biomass on plantations. We target a unique project size, unique feedstock combinations for rural energy independence.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

We have planted 5 hectares of castor in Panama and have provided over 15 people with temporary employment. We have identified 10 potential pellet and biomass to energy plays in Panama, Colombia and Costa Rica. We are actively participating with Standard Fruit Co. of Costa Rica in a waste to energy plan to help offset carbon footprint of banana a shipping depot with bamboo and timber biomass. We have established a Panamanian subsidiary, Ceiba Energy Agriculture S.A. an entity to be used for all LatAm projects.
We have relationships with over a dozen Original Equipment Manufacturers of bioenergy and pelletization equipment. Ceiba has developed market links for all pellets, castor seed or oil, electricity and liquid fuels that we can produce. Ceiba has landed over $35K in seed capital. Many landowners are very interested in partnering or selling lands to us, and we have been fortunate to work with government officials and research institutions, that have offered us free assistance.

What is your projected impact over the next 1 to 3 years?

By the end of Yr1 We will have developed two bioenergy projects between Panama and Colombia. Our castor seed production farms, We will have performed a feasibility study for Standard Fruit Co, and will hopefully be implementing the project. We plan to have over 4000 hectares in oil crop production by Y3 and further expanded into fast growing biomass crops and other oil crops, using both rainfall and irrigation, with at least 5 bioenergy systems functioning on the ground in Panama and Colombia, and seeking Series B funding to expand pipeline with proven projects. We will have additional subsidiaries dedicated to bioenergy production and agriculture, and hope to have sold at least one to an investor or company, and will own lands.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

Difficulty with negotiating Power Purchase Agreements at viable price thresholds: We will leverage incountry networks and seek EX/IM backing and government support.

Difficulty securing lands: We have already identified over 10,000 hectares of lands for our projects and can secure in long-term leases and eventually purchase our own properties.

Difficulty with control of biomass supplies. We will partner with reputable, long standing biomass waste producers ad enter into long term offtake contracts. Additionally we will produce our own biomass on high-yield agroforestry-based production systems to assure ample raw materials and project longevity.

Difficulty with Bioenergy Machinery: We have a bilingual team of engineers in US and Colombia in charge of installation and operations.

What is the benefit or value you're creating for your business?

Our company has developed unique land use models that increase short term revenues and allow for expedient self financed land purchases. We also simultaneously develop bioenergy opportunities with multiple OEM's, with revenues from energy sales, biomass sales, biochar sales, commissions on machine sales, land value appreciation,management fees, licensing fees, commodity sales, timber sales and consulting. This diverse model with multiple cashflows gives us a resilient, lean and flexible company with deep contacts in emerging market LAC countries.

How are you leveraging internal resources (funds, time, knowledge, etc.) to support this initiative?

Ceiba has received a bridge loan that has been used for project development, travel, castor plantings, the establishment of Panama subsidiary, Ceiba Energy Agriculture SA. Our team and advisors leverage over 150 years of Latin American resource and energy project development experience with the political connections and business acumen necessary to execute on these opportunities.
We are finalizing materials for a formal seed round in which we will be seeking $300k in bridge loans to further develop the energy agriculture play and set up two bioenergy pilots, one with wood pellets in Colombia, the other with rice husk in Panama. Individually and as a company our team consults with contracts related to land use, forestry, carbon, and bioenergy in Latin America; reinvesting in Ceiba.

Expand on your answer, explaining the long-term funding and support plan.

We are currently entering a seed round where we are seeking $300k, at least 6 months of runway to vet and secure a pipeline of bioenergy projects in Panama, Colombia and Costa Rica. Once we have chosen two main bioenergy projects and our continued planting efforts, we will prepare all three for financing and will then seek a Series A finance round, most likely with our initial bridge loan investor and thier cohort of investor contacts in a syndicated round.
We will continue to receive funding and management fees based on milestones and successes, and will produce revenue from sales of seeds, oil, biochar, pellets, energy, fuel, and lands. Ceiba has and will continue to perform consultancies related to our core strengths, land use optimization and bioenergy project development in LatAm.

Tell us about your partnerships across your company and externally that are key to your project's success.

Our company has strong interdisciplinary ties with each member dedicated to certain aspects of the diverse agroecosystems -- with ample overlap and sharing in between all members to assure cohesive company culture. We have standing Letter of Intent to purchase our castor seed and oil, as well as timber and other biomass, all with reputable investors. We have competent contacts in every country and have MoU's in place with carbon developers, investors, and offtakers.

What internal support have you gotten for your project? What kind of push-back have you received?

We have received $35k in seed funding and have a cadre of advisors who have worked with us for several years with no compensation. We have received pushback from some investors as they would like to see us targeting larger projects that justify higher transaction costs with less management needed. Our potential investors and advisors give us great guidance in terms of focus and presentation, and are now introducing us to major potential funding sources and clients.