Bioenergy, Geothermal, Hydropower

Portable Energy Plants to Convert Garbage to Energy in South Africa

Sewage and garbage in Cape Town, South Africa will be converted into electricity, fuel and bricks for low-cost housing with help of an investment of more than 1 billion Rand.

Cape Town, South Africa 2002-02-18 [SolarAccess.com] Solid Waste Technologies recently secured a joint-venture contract with Bahamas-based Kwikpower International, which will direct the funding into the country over the next 10 years. Kwikpower is a biotechnology company formed in 1996 to develop innovative and cost-effective technology to produce clean-burning alternative fuels. The technology, which is already breaking new ground in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Israel, will produce “green electricity” and alcohol fuels from garbage, sewage, sludge and even old tires using portable power plants. This is made possible by converting waste into biogas, which is used to run a diesel generator or a micro-turbine to produce electricity. Athlone, Khayelitsha, Langa and surrounding areas will be among the first to test the technology, as a plant has been earmarked for the Athlone power station, which processes about 800 tons of waste daily. The location will make it easy to tap into the national electricity grid. The first plants are expected to arrive in South Africa as early as April. The portable plant, the size of a freight container, produces inert ash as a by-product. The ash is compressed and converted into lightweight bricks, which can be used for low-cost housing. The bricks have been used for homes in Canada as well as runway surfaces. The fuels produced can be processed into 95-octane unleaded gasoline. The facilities are a stand-alone, integrated waste disposal and energy-generating system, designed to be installed at the waste disposal site, eliminating the need to haul waste long distances. The managing director of Solid Waste Technologies, Edgar Adams, said the company would eventually build the plants and sell them to foreign countries to generate more income and provide more jobs. “We want to see this technology take root in Africa where it is needed most,” said Adams. “The potential for this technology to be used in our country is enormous. Not only will money be saved, but this project will create many jobs and create opportunities for small contractors in the waste industry.”