Rubbish. Bugs. Profit.
March 2017 | Forbes Africa
For the people of Cape Town, waste is a dirty business and they are running out of space for it. A bunch of guys are turning this problem into profit.
It doesn’t look like much but it’s the first of its kind on African soil that could turn a stinking problem into a profit. This R400-million plant takes the black rubbish bags of Cape Town, with their rotting food and heaven knows what else, and converts it into gas – methane and carbon dioxide – for sale.
The plant, owned by New Horizons Energy, a subsidiary of Clean Energy Africa, is the fruit of five years of planning with family-owned WasteMart, one of the largest waste collectors in the city. It was also backed by African Oxygen (Afrox) and the Indus- trial Development Corporation (IDC). This machine was born of a shortage of holes to put rubbish in Cape Town. “Waste-Mart brings in 500 tons of waste a day. Cape Town produces 2 million tons a year. It goes to landfills sites and sits useless. We plan to convert 10 percent of Cape Town’s waste into something. The city of Cape Town, in effect, has become our mine,” says New Horizons Energy CEO, Egmont Ottermann. It is a 15-year dream Ottermann has realized. He says he first came up with the idea when looking at how to make gas that is produced in the cement industry.
At the heart of this are millions upon millions of bugs that live inside the huge vats and eat the rubbish to produce the methane. In their teething days, they were fed nothing but cow manure before moving on to 50 tons of apricot juice. The bugs will mature in May and be strong enough to chomp their way through waste paper and other rubbish, and turn it into valuable gas.
“We’re very excited about the plant. It can help to replace imported fuels by taking the waste and making gas out of the resource. Most importantly, it’s creating jobs. We also believe that there is massive opportunity for replication throughout South Africa and Africa,” says Raoul Goosen, the IDC’s Green Industry Specialist, who played a vital part in securing a 60% finance backing for the project. “The plant will release 20 tons of carbon dioxide and 540 gigajoules of biomethane, which Afrox will buy. “For Afrox, it’s a sustainable green offering that our customers are looking for.
“The city of Cape Town, in effect has become our mine. “It’s a good news story from birth to graveyard in terms of managing a waste stream,” says Silvia Schollenberger, Afrox Head of Commercial and Projects. “We found there was more value to the industries of bio- gas, rather than energy. Cape Town has grown tremendously over the past 10 years. Afrox has seen shortages of carbon dioxide and methane, especially in summer, so this is a good idea on various levels,” says Ottermann. Ottermann believes there’s more rubbish than time. “It’s not the silver bullet solution, but it’s a start. The idea is to use 100 percent of the landfill. The idea is to use 100 percent of the landfill.
We’re enhancing the recycling economy. There’s great potential in the future to make products such as plastic bricks and roof tiles. Over the lifetime of this plant, we expect many more little industries to be established close to the plant, so that we can drive zero waste to landfill.” Where there’s muck there’s brass – there is also gas.
Clean Energy Africa launches Africa’s first waste-to-energy plant in Cape Town.
January 25, 2017 | Clean Energy Africa has collaborated with the Industrial Development Corporation, Waste-Mart and Afrox to complete Africa’s first waste-to-energy plant; the New Horizons Waste-to-Energy facility in Cape Town. Situated in Athlone, Cape Town, the New Horizons Waste-to-Energy plant will process, on average, 500 tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW), wet trade waste (WTW) and pure organic waste (POW) daily to produce liquid Bio-CO2, Compressed Biomethane (CBM), Renewable Natural Gas (RNG), as well as organic fertiliser and refuse derived fuel (RDF).
Financed by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) in conjunction with Clean Energy Africa (CEA) this facility makes use of Anaerobic Digestion, the process of natural biological breakdown of biodegradable waste products, to produce Biomethane, RNG and CO2. “This project is the first of its kind to provide the combination of an effective waste management service and a valuable energy resource” said Mr Egmont Ottermann, CEO of New Horizons Energy. Waste-Mart, a specialist in the removal and disposal of various types of waste and a successful family-run business in the Cape Town waste management industry, provides the waste enabling the process of Anaerobic Digestion to produce the gases. Biomethane and CO2 gases produced by the New Horizons Energy facility are sold to Afrox, the commercial off-taker who entered a 15-year purchase agreement with New Horizons Energy in 2015, under which Afrox is the sole off-taker and distributor.
When fully operational this facility expects to divert up to 90% of the received waste away from landfills in this first of its kind, large scale waste-to-energy plant. By diverting waste from landfills, this plant will generate approximately 20 tonnes of renewable CO2 and 600 GJ (gigajoules) of compressed Biomethane, an equivalent of generating an average of 3 MW of electrical energy. This technical and innovative project brings together internationally proven technologies to successfully implement this process.
“This facility is proof that with great partners and hard work we really can change the way in which we generate energy. This plant will be the crown jewel for the City of Cape Town’s green ambitions, making it the first city to embrace waste to energy, and support the largest Bio-Gas Facility on the African continent” said Marcel Steinberg, Founder and CEO of Clean Energy Africa Investments.
For more information:
Contact: Phumi Makhanya | Public Relations Executive
Tel: 082 615 3019 | 011 268 6735
For more information about the launch event follow the below links:
Waste-to-energy plant to open in city
December 2016 | Cape Argus
Cape Town will soon be home to Africa’s first multi-million rand waste-to-energy plant. Once complete, the plant will process more than 500-tons of municipal solid waste, wet trade waste and pure organic waste into environmentally considerate energy and recycled bi-products. Read the full Cape Argus article by clicking the image below:
The New Horizons Waste-to-Energy plant – A first of its kind in Africa
December 2016 | Engineering News
Clean Energy Africa has a proud track record in clean energy projects
September 2016 | Leadership Magazine