Opportunities abound for municipalities in biogas

  • Nov 25, 2021
  • ESI Africa

The South African Biogas Industry Association (SABIA) recently hosted a engaging webinar as part of the Enlit Africa Digital Event on advancing biogas in the municipal strategic roadmap: pathways to 2030.

The South African State of Waste Report (2018) estimated that South Africa generated approximately 54.2 million tonnes of municipal waste in 2017. It further estimated that over 90% was disposed of at landfill sites. Landfill space, especially in urban areas, is increasingly becoming scarce. Municipalities, especially metros, are running out of space for landfill sites at a very faster rate.

Large potential for energy recovery therefore remains unexploited. Opportunities exist not only for reducing high levels of waste being landfilled in South Africa and the associated negative environmental impacts, but also for enhancing the country’s energy generating capacity.

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By recycling the readily available organic wastes, we can cut global GHG emissions by 10% by 2030. Biogas helps to decarbonise the hardest-to-decarbonise sectors of waste management, agriculture, heat and transport and has the potential to generate green energy of 10,100 to 14,000 TWh. This energy can meet 6-9% of the world’s primary energy consumption.

The Accra Metropolitan Assembly Waste Management Department has shown great strides with incorporating biogas into their renewable energy strategies.

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Alberto Borello, secretary general at SABIA, commenting on what, in the short to medium term, is going to have a bigger effect on growing the market in South Africa: “The growth of biogas projects in almost all the countries in the world has happened through policy development that has supported the use of the anaerobic digestion technology for the production of electricity, biomethane and fertiliser, to diversify the organic waste from landfill and to reduce the greenhouse gas emission produced by the landfills. The environmental policy has allowed investments in the sector and the financial sustainability of the anaerobic digestion.”

Watch the full Advancing biogas in the municipal strategic roadmap: pathways to 2030 session online.