French bioenergy and solar power project developer Albioma has signed a joint venture agreement with Brazilian sugar mill operator Vale do Paraná to expand the capacity of an existing bagasse-fired cogeneration plant in Brazil.

The project will expand the 16 MW plant at the Vale do Paraná sugar mill in São Paulo state to 48 MW, with 18 MW planned to power the site’s sugar cane crushing operations.

Albioma is to hold a 40% stake in the joint venture company as well as acting as technical partner for the project’s construction and operation phases.

Financing has not yet been secured, Albioma said, although the project is eligible for a long-term loan from the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES).

Vale do Paraná is a subsidiary of Latin America’s leading sugar producer Pantaleon Group.  Its mill in São Paulo boasts a sugar cane crushing capacity of two million tonnes per year.