In South Africa, Biogas Could Save Wastewater Plants up to 30-MW of Energy


South Africa - According to wastewater solutions company WEC Projects, Wastewater treatment plants could depend less on Eskom (Eskom is a South African electricity public utility), by using the biogas formed onsite.

WEC explains that methane rich biogas, which is formed as a by-product of sewage treatment, can be used to fuel gas engine generators and contribute towards a percentage of the electricity used to operate water and wastewater plants.

South Africa has approximately 50 major municipalities. According to WEC, these municipalities have wastewater treatment plants large enough to operate an effective biogas plant, which in turn, could possibly save the same treatment plants about 30-MW of electricity.

Jason Gifford, WEC Projects’ energy division spokesperson explains, “As far as energy savings go, a figure of this size will have a pretty significant impact on their own costs as well as the electricity provider’s drive towards energy efficiency,” 

The company is exploring the possibilities of biogas as an alternative energy source to achieve “true energy efficiency”.

Biogas Power Plant

The company first implemented a biogas power plant at Johannesburg Water’s wastewater treatment plant.

“Our goal is to make this initial plant a shining example of how true energy efficiency can be achieved,” Gifford said. Once the case can be effectively made for biogas, the company plans to build other treatment plants like this one.

Biogas Production

Gifford explained that their wastewater treatment plant uses a process of anaerobic digestion (a natural process involving the decomposition of organic matter in the absence of oxygen) to produce biogas or raw fuel. Traditionally however, sewage treatment plants use this process to convert a large proportion of the solid sewage sludge, produced in the mainstream treatment processes, into biogas.

“This reduces the sludge volume prior to disposal. In addition, it also ensured that a stable sludge is disposed of,” Gifford explained. He added that due to the massive electricity price increases recently, it now makes financial sense to use biogas to produce electricity.

One of the main aims of the biogas solution is to provide a wastewater treatment plant with an onsite energy source that should also be able to offset a portion of the plant’s operating costs.

Using Biogas as Fuel

For the biogas to be used as a fuel source, to run the engines of generators, it has to be clean. “Part of WEC Projects’ role is to clean the biogas so that it can serve as a fuel,” Gifford said.

He explained that the biogas in its raw fuel state contains water, hydrogen sulphide and a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and siloxanes. These chemicals can damage moving parts in an engine.

“For the gas to be effective as a fuel, it therefore needs to be conditioned and have these contaminants have to be removed,” he explained. In the long run, the cleaner fuel, the longer the lifespan of the engine and the lower running costs will be.

Johannesburg Water’s wastewater biogas-to-energy project was the first of its kind in the country, Gifford said. The company now aims to set up similar biogas plants at other wastewater plants that operate anaerobic digesters.
“Suggesting that the 50 largest wastewater treatment plants in the country could save a combined 30MW through this process is a conservative estimate,” Gifford said. “But even taking the conservative estimate, this is no small figure in these energy-constrained times.”


Article cited from: https://goo.gl/5EnSlN 





  1. Waste No Waste: Time to Embrace Biogas
  2. Is Big Gas finally learning to love biogas?
  3. We need to get behind Renewable Natural Gas
  4. Difference between a Turbo and Positive Displacement Blower
  5. The Difference between Methane and Natural Gas
  6. First Dairy Biogas Project in Connecticut
  7. Does Renewable Natural Gas Have a Future in Energy?
  8. Biogas Offtake Opportunities For Digesters
  9. Wisconsin Dairy Begins Production of Renewable Natural Gas
  10. Anaerobic Digestion Sector Forming a Clearer Picture
  11. Brightmark to Expand Western New York Dairy Biogas Project
  12. Biogas - The Energy Wonder That's Under Our Noses
  13. Power Generation Achieved by a Self-Assembled Biofuel Cell
  14. Less Carbon Dioxide from Natural Gas
  15. Project Uses Renewable Electricity for RNG Production
  16. Smithfield Hog Farm Provides Natural Gas to Missouri City
  17. From Waste to Gas
  18. Gas Clash Threatens Australian Export
  19. Maximizing Opportunities of Anaerobic Digestion from Wastewater
  20. Catalyst to Speed up Conversion of Biomass to Biofuel
  21. How It Works: Ethanol
  22. Anaerobic Digestion - the Next Big Renewable Energy Source
  23. Anaerobic Additions
  24. Three (3) Tech Solutions for Modern Landfills
  25. The Costs and Benefits of Anaerobic Digesters
  26. Bacteria Farts Power Wastewater Plant in Fort Wayne
  27. Europe’s First Poultry Manure Biogas Plant
  28. Electricity Using Pig Manure
  29. $38-Million Biodigester coming to Grand Rapids
  30. Biochar Could Benefit Anaerobic Digestion of Animal Manure

For additonal reading, please visit us at: News Worthy

Difference between a Turbo and Positive Displacement Blower