R/€ = 15.09Change: -0.07
R/$ = 14.21Change: -0.07
Au 1071.55 $/ozChange: -0.50
Pt 853.50 $/ozChange: 8.00
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?

And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters About Us
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
Aug 31, 2012

Biogas-from-sludge solution could yield power savings for water plants

Africa|Cleaning|Engines|Gas|Generators|Projects|Waste|Water|WEC Projects|Africa|South Africa|By-product|Chemical Compounds|Cleaning|Electricity|Electricity Grid|Energy|Energy-generation Potential|Fuel Gas Engine Generators|Maintenance|Possible Electricity Saving|Product|Jason Gifford|Power|Waste|Operations|Wastewater Treatment
© Reuse this

Aconsiderable 30 MW a year could poten- tially be saved at South African waste- water treatment plants should the methane-rich biogas emitted as a by-product be exploited for its energy-generation potential.

Jason Gifford, spokesperson for the Energy Division of WEC Projects, a firm which is implementing South Africa’s first biogas-to-power plant at a municipal wastewater treatment works, explains that biogas produced during the sewage treatment process has the potential to reduce the plant’s dependence on the national electricity grid.

“Biogas can be used to fuel gas engine generators at treatment works and provide a percentage of the electricity these plants use for operation,” he explains.

Considering that there are around 50 major municipalities in South Africa with a wastewater treatment plant large enough to operate an effective biogas plant, 30 MW is a conserva- tive estimate of the possible electricity saving.

Treatment plants traditionally use a natural process, known as anaerobic digestion, which involves the decomposition of organic matter in the absence of oxygen, to convert a large proportion of the solid sewage sludge, produced in the mainstream treatment processes, into biogas.

Following anaerobic digestion, the biogas produced is termed raw fuel, as it contains water, hydrogen sulphide as well as a variety of volatile organic and chemical compounds that can damage the moving parts in engines.

“For biogas to be an effective fuel, it therefore needs to be conditioned and have these contami- nants removed to ensure long-term sustainability of the plant engine and a lower overall running cost,” says Gifford.

A biogas-to-power plant may provide wastewater treatment works with an on-site energy source that could enable it to offset a portion of its running costs.

Critically, Gifford emphasises that, as the mandate of municipal water works is not to generate electricity, but to clean wastewater, it is important to outsource the running of biogas- to-power plants to specialised contractors.

“In certain international cases, the function of biogas-to-energy operations at water works has exceeded the initial mandate of cleaning effluent and has become the primary focus of the entire plant, resulting in a deterioration of the quality of the treated effluent,” he notes.

Gifford adds that the true financial benefit of municipal biogas plants is evident when savings are not lost to other divisions within the municipality, but reinvested into the effluent treatment works for maintenance and upgrade.

In addition, he says, the cost of a fully commissioned biogas-to-power operation, including full automation and remote monitoring, can be recouped after four to seven years, making it a financially viable long-term energy option.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Energy News
Article contains comments
Up to $2-trillion in petroleum and coal projects will not be needed if the world takes action to limit warming of the planet to 2 degrees Celsius, according to a report released this week ahead of a global climate summit in Paris. The report adds to a string of...
Industrial energy and supplies group enX has raised revenues by 51% to R883-million for year ended August 31, citing healthy divisional growth and a strong performance by the new fuel segment, which contributed nearly a quarter of group revenues. Adjusted earnings...
Article contains comments
Drilling under way on the Free State property
Alternative energy investment holding company Renergen expects its natural gas venture in the Free State to begin producing revenues during early 2016 when a bus company starts using its gas to operate a new fleet of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, which will...
Latest News
CTLE's Nigel facility
Updated 6 minutes ago  Rail group Alstom announced on Thursday that it had signed an agreement to purchase 51% of South African rail company Commuter Transport & Locomotive Engineering (CTLE), for an undisclosed amount. CTLE, specialising in the modernisation of trains, was previously...
Coal deal described as accretive.
Updated 35 minutes ago The share price of Coal of Africa (CoAL) shot up 14.81% in Johannesburg on CoAL’s takeover offer of $91-million for Universal Coal, which had been pursued by IchorCoal. The deal is to be funded $36.8-million through loan notes, $25.7-million from internal cash...
Professor Sohail Inayatullah
Updated 36 minutes ago Future studies researcher and specialist Professor Sohail Inayatullah will deliver an interactive master class on strategic foresight and strategy development in Johannesburg early next month. The Pakistani-born Australian academic is a fellow of the World Futures...
Recent Research Reports
Water 2015: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2015 Report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context but also in the African and global context in terms of supply and demand, water stress and insecurity, and access to water and sanitation, besides others.
Input Sector Review: Pumps 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2015 Input Sector Review on Pumps provides an overview of South Africa’s pumps industry with particular focus on pump manufacture and supply, aftermarket services, marketing strategies, local and export demand, imports, sector support, investment...
Liquid Fuels 2015: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2015 Report examines these issues in the context of South Africa’s business environment; oil and gas exploration; fuel pricing; the development of the country’s biofuels industry; the logistics of transporting liquid fuels; and...
Road and Rail 2015: A review of South Africa's road and rail sectors (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2015 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail infrastructure and network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and...
Defence 2015: A review of South Africa's defence sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Coal 2015 report examines South Africa’s coal industry with regards to the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local demand, export sales and coal logistics, projects being undertaken by the large and smaller participants in the...
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
This Week's Magazine
Additive manufacturing, better known as 3D printing, has the potential to completely change the relationships between individual consumers, professional designers and manufacturers. So argued Loughborough University Reader in Computer Aided Product Design Dr Ian...
Airbus Defence and Space: Military Aircraft has highlighted that its A330 Multirole Tanker Transport (MRTT) has significant commonalities with the Airbus A330-200 commercial airliner, upon which it is based. The South African Air Force (SAAF) once operated a fleet of...
Financial services provider Nedbank launched the second edition of its Carbon Footprinting Guide earlier this month, which is aimed at demystifying carbon footprint approaches and help readers grasp the main concepts of carbon measuring, monitoring, reporting and...
This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of Caterpillar’s first backhoe loader. This also coincides with the worldwide release of its latest-generation F2 series backhoe loader, which was launched at supply chain services company Barloworld Logistics’ Big Dig Day in...
BARRY DWOLATZKY The CPD programme provides advanced skills required locally, and provides a stepping stone to Wits University’s Master of Engineering degree in software engineering
A shortage of software engineers is leading to fewer information technology (IT) projects in private and public sector organisations. This also places a dampener on the economy, as IT is an integral part of business and civil service, says University of Witwatersrand...
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks
Subscribe Now for $96 Close
Subscribe Now for $96