Cape Town launches $30m large scale waste-to-energy plant

South Africa’s City of Cape Town will fully commission what could be Africa’s first large scale waste-to-energy plant built in May, news reports have indicated.

Jointly built in Athlone by New Horizons Energy – a subsidiary of Clean Energy Africa, and Waste Mart, the plant will come into full stream in May when all of its components are fully fitted, and would generate an equivalent of 3mw of clean electricity through compressed bio methane for use by about 3500 households of the city.

Local South Africa news outlets reported that the R400 million ($30 million) biogas plant was recently launched by the city’s Mayor, Patricia de Lille, and it would create up to 80 full-time jobs and a few hundreds of indirect jobs when in operation.

The project, according to them will use up to 500 tonnes of organic household, municipal, and industrial waste per day, in an anaerobic digestive process, to produce methane, food-grade carbon dioxide, and organic fertilizer.

It is equally estimated to supply around 4% to 5% of the liquid petroleum gas requirement of Cape Town which reportedly generates around 8,000 tonnes of waste daily.

According to the reports, de Lille said during the inauguration that she felt it was wrong that the national power supplier, Eskom, had a monopoly and forced the city to purchase its fossil-fuel power, and that this offered the city’s residents with a greater choice on what type of energy they want to consume.

“This is an exciting addition to the green economy in Cape Town,” de Lille said of the project which took about 5 years to plan.