City of Joburg to repurpose waste into electricity

Loadshedding that continues to affect all municipalities can be mitigated by repurposing waste and moving away from disposing rubbish at landfill sites, says the City of Johannesburg.

The Environment and Infrastructure Services Department’s Deputy Director, Mvuselelo Mathebula, who is responsible for Waste Management and Regulations, says the City of Johannesburg plans to do just that, with numerous key projects lined up to divert waste from landfill sites by recycling and using its rubbish to generate electricity.

The City’s landfill gas to energy project, which extracts methane gas from four of its landfill sites, uses the gas to generate electricity at the Robinson Landfill site and it is already contributing kilowatts to the national grid.

Mathebula says the department has set in a motion a process to divert at least a third of the City’s total waste towards a project that will generate between 30 and 40 megawatts of electricity, and it has already procured Transaction Advisory services through the Development Bank of South Africa, that have just completed a review of a feasibility study that was concluded in 2015.

In a recent presentation, Mathebula referred to another project that is meant to repurpose and derive value from waste, and which has now entered the construction phase to convert biomass from the Joburg Fresh Produce Market and food waste from restaurants to energy.

Some of the 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 projects at Robinson Deep.

Apart from the technology driven approaches to minimising waste in Johannesburg, Mathebula said the department is also working on strategies to integrate waste pickers into the formal waste sector by developing sorting sited in across the city to eradicate the proliferation of illegal sorting sites.