Namibia: the waste-to-energy power plant project thrown in the trash

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A COMPANY that has been charged with a pilot program to generate electricity from waste has until mid-September to leave the Walvis Bay landfill.

This is after Waste Power Generation (Pty) Ltd breached its contractual obligation to efficiently operate the landfill and build a waste-to-energy plant on the site.

According to recent board minutes, in an informal discussion session, the company presented various challenges that have delayed the implementation of the waste-to-energy power plant.

“The municipality notes that this project was considered as a pilot project which did not materialize as planned”, specifies the minutes.

The company entered into an agreement with the Municipality of Walvis Bay in 2019.

Although Waste Power Generation took over the landfill, according to council minutes, they were not ready to operate the sites efficiently and have now pulled out of the project.

The Council accepted the termination by Waste Power Generation of the agreement for the operation and control as well as the establishment of the waste-to-energy plant.

The municipality has since launched a new call for tenders for the operation of the landfill and has exercised control. The call for tenders ends on August 25.

According to a feasibility study on the solid waste energy recovery project in Walvis Bay carried out in 2018, the idea was for the city to adopt new progressive international technologies for the local production of renewable energy from 100% recycled waste.

The establishment of such a factory would in turn have created a significant number of jobs.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY

RDJ Consulting energy specialist David Jarrett explained that implementing a waste-to-energy power plant was a good concept that can benefit the country from an environmental standpoint.

According to him, the idea of ​​having such a factory based in Walvis Bay was good because of the geographical and logistical position of the city.

“Walvis Bay is the best location for such a plant because all over the country there are many trucks arriving empty at the port. They could bring prepackaged waste from anywhere in Namibia and drop it off there. Walvis Bay, ”he said.

Jarrett added that the viability of the waste-to-energy concept, however, is generally based on the scale of production expected.

Waste can be produced from gas resulting from landfills or collected in “thermal” applications to generate electricity, heat or a combination of these. Such concepts are known as “waste derived fuel” or RDF, a practice currently followed by Ohorongo Cement.

Current waste streams and resulting gas production from landfills in Namibia are considered low in a large-scale commercial enterprise.

“An effective solid waste collection system through a national collection network could overcome collection challenges, but its purpose must be clearly understood by all. So a thermal solid waste process could be commercialized, ”Jarrett explained.


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