The Herald (South Africa)
January 13, 2012
NELSON Mandela Bay is set to move forward on a R67-million project to generate energy from landfill waste – the first of this new-generation model in the country, metro officials say.
The project also involves energy authorities and the Central Energy Fund (CEF). As part of this, the metro is to sign an agreement that will allow the project to move to its final preparation phase, electricity department new projects director Peter Neilson said yesterday. “The minute it is signed, we can start with gas flaring, which is needed to forecast what energy return can be expected.” That would take six to nine months, after which the project was likely to use two technologies. The first would extract methane produced when organic material like household waste decomposes under anaerobic conditions (without oxygen). To extract the methane, a “gas well” will be drilled into the landfill and a series of inter-connected PVC pipes will be inserted. Methane rising through the pipes is scrubbed and then channelled into a turbine on site. It will transform the methane into electricity and feed that into the Eskom grid. At the same time, methane extraction will be run parallel with another technology, pyrolysis. In this, waste material is incinerated in an air-less system that ensures no escape for dangerous dioxins. The plant at Kuduskloof had received approval in terms of the environmental impact assessment process for an initial 25-year lifespan, Neilson said. “From the project as a whole, the hope is we can generate 3MW, which is about a third of the demand of a town like Despatch.”
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