The City of Johannesburg is looking to generate additional power from waste.
The city has several landfill sites with the potential to generate an additional 30MW-40MW of power.
The city said the devastating impact of Eskom’s rolling blackouts on all municipal entities could be mitigated by re-purposing waste and moving away from disposing waste at landfill sites.
The environment and infrastructure services department’s deputy director Mvuselelo Mathebula said several vital projects had been put in place to divert waste from landfill sites, by recycling and using waste to generate power.
Mathebula is responsible for Johannesburg’s waste management and regulations.
The city already has a landfill gas-to-energy project up and running. The Robinson Landfill site project extracts methane gas from four dumping grounds. It uses gas to generate electricity, which contributes a “number of kilowatts to the national grid”.
Johannesburg is gearing up to divert at least a third of the city’s total waste towards a project that generates between 30MW and 40MW of electricity.
“The department has already procured transaction advisory services through the Development Bank of Southern Africa, which has just completed a review of a feasibility study in 2015. They are expected to take the project to financial closure,” said Mathebula.
“A portion of the funding for the transaction advisory services was provided by the European Union through a fund managed by the DBSA on the former’s behalf.”
Another project that repurposes and derives value from waste focuses on converting biomass from the Joburg Fresh Produce Market and food waste from restaurants to energy.
“Some of that gas will be shared with Metrobus for its gas-powered fleet, and the balance will be used to generate electricity as part of the landfill gas to energy project at Robinson Deep,” said Mathebula.
The city is also examining strategies to integrate waste pickers into the formal waste management sector by developing sorting sites for them in all of the city’s regions.
“This exercise will involve identifying all the existing illegal sorting facilities to determine the resource needed for waste pickers.
“Such a move will ensure that the unsightly and environmentally unfriendly sorting facilities are eradicated,” said Mathebula.
The move will also ensure that waste pickers are included in the waste value chain and that they operate efficiently to benefit from the multi-million rand recycling industry.
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