Engineering News, Terence Creamer, 17th March
… all the elements were now in place for what could become a benchmark waste-to-electricity independent power producer (IPP) for South Africa and a potential forerunner to Bio2Watt’s aspiration of producing more than 50 MW of green energy in South Africa within ten years. The company was currently pursuing a second commercial biogas project on a dairy farm in Malmesbury, in the Western Cape.
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THE City of Johannesburg will use your rubbish to show Eskom the light. In an effort to alleviate the power crisis, the city and Pikitup are rolling out a project to produce energy-using waste from landfill sites.
By 2016, it is expected that 19 megawatts of electricity will be produced from five landfill sites – enough to power 16 500 medium-sized houses.
A pilot project being executed through the city’s infrastructure and services department at the Robinson Deep landfill is showing good progress. The toxic gases are being burnt through a flare, but by next year they will be used to power generators that will feed electricity into the grid. Read more on Cape Times
As project Solaris gains traction, South African Airways (SAA) has made headway on its journey to becoming a biofueled airliner by 2020 through the conversion of nicotine-free Solaris tobacco plants into more environment-friendly jet fuel.
SAA is currently preparing to fuel a domestic test flight early next year, using the first locally produced biofuel from the oil of the inaugural crop from project Solaris, in Marble Hall, Limpopo.
The 50 ha test crop, unveiled this week by SAA, in partnership with Boeing, SunChem and SkyNRG, would be harvested for the first time in December, marking the start of the establishment of a sustainable aviation biofuel supply chain in South Africa. Read more on Engineering News
Biofuels are controversial because of uncertain environmental benefits and reported social drawbacks, including ‘land grabs’ and threats to food security. The present study investigates the relevance of these concerns for a proposed bioethanol project in Cradock, South Africa. The proposed project is anticipated to lead to economic upliftment and could therefore contribute to reduce poverty and thus strengthen food security. With a projected annual production of up to 16,000 l ethanol per hectare, yields would be substantially higher than in most other countries. Agricultural activity would take place on existing farm land, or on biomes classified as ‘least concern’. We estimate a carbon footprint reduction of ~ 30% for sugar beet ethanol in the area. Because various global biofuel concerns do not apply to the proposed Cradock fuel ethanol project, we argue for a more nuanced approach for the evaluation of biofuel projects with more focus on case-specific attributes
Download the journal article: Are biofuel concerns globally relevant? Prospects for a proposed pioneer bioethanol project in South Africa
South Africa’s need to speed up grid electrification has surpassed and suppressed the process to pursue grid independence with renewable energy. Statistics suggest that 6 percent of South African electricity is consumed by agriculture, however many related industries are not considered, such as processing plants, cold room facilities, packaging, canning and abattoirs. These industries likely double consumption, if not more.
Agriculturally related industries are major energy consumers with large quantities of digestible waste, and many have direct associations with waste producers, which are also large energy consumers. These small and medium enterprises (SME) could very easily, and at low cost, become self-sustainable, off-the-grid solutions with biogas digestion systems. Read more on Renewable Energy World.