The City of Cape Town’s Department of Solid Waste Management on Friday launched gas extraction and flaring systems at the Coastal Park and Bellville South landfills, while a similar system is under development at the Vissershok South landfill.
Each system comprises a wellfield made up of a combination of vertical and horizontal wells, well heads, condensate traps, pipelines, gas blowers, measuring instrumentation and a gas flare, the Department of Solid Waste Management said in a statement.
The methane gas is then flared, converting it to carbon dioxide and water and reducing its global warming impact, or is burned to produce electricity.
“The city intends using the gas largely as a fuel for generation of electricity. Additional operating cost-savings can be achieved by reducing bulk electricity purchases with these small-scale generation projects,” said City of Cape Town Informal Settlements, Water, Waste Services and Energy MMC Xanthea Limberg.
The projects were developed as carbon-offsetting Clean Development Mechanisms that will generate carbon credits. With the groundwork done by the city, similar projects in Cape Town and South Africa can be added to the programme.
These small-scale generation projects are likely to produce about 1 MW of electricity, dependent on the volumes of gas available. This is sufficient to power an energy-intensive operation such as a wastewater treatment facility.
“This kind of intervention is critical for moving Cape Town a step closer to being a sustainable city. Global warming is one of the key factors that drives climate variability – and, ultimately, climate change – the effects of which we are already feeling acutely in the Western Cape.
“The conversion of this greenhouse gas, which is a major contributor to global warming, helps the city and also contributes to national climate change mitigation goals,” she said.