The benefits of turning waste to energy
Electricity- A bare necessity and important component to efficiently run homes, schools and industry but is currently a rare commodity in Africa. More than half of the Sub-Saharan African population does not have access to electricity, which impacts a variety of socio-economic issues such as industry and employment as well as access to health and education. This poses key obstacles to Africa’s economic development.
Energy infrastructure in Africa can be described as challenging. It is associated with high costs, insufficient capacity and poor sustainability and reliability, with some countries even facing an energy crisis. The ever-increasing energy costs and frequent load shedding occurrences have a negative impact on the manufacturing industry for example, it slows down the production of goods, which in turn affects investment decisions and potential economic growth. The electricity struggle also has a direct socio-economic impact on poorer, underserved African communities as access to basic clinical services for instance can become a serious issue.
struggles make it crucial for the government and independent power producers
alike to rethink the relationship between energy and the development of the
Are there any possible solutions to this problem?
Conventional forms of electricity generation are
fast becoming outdated and are contributing to the rising global, environmental
and health concerns. In recent times, the need for alternative power generation
methods has become quite urgent.
But could an unlikely candidate like waste be a two-fold
According to The Africa
Waste Management Outlook, Africa produces less waste than other
continents, but sub-Saharan Africa will become one of the most important regions
in the world in terms of waste generation as population and growth in Africa is
the largest globally.
Because African cities are
predicted to produce more waste in the future, Waste Management solutions are
becoming imperative. The decomposing waste at landfill sites produces landfill
gas, release harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses.
Waste to energy is
the process of converting municipal and industrial waste into electricity or
heat, using available expert technology from companies like Siemens. Turning
waste to energy can be viewed as an opportunity and one of the few possible
solutions that can help alleviate this energy deficiency. This process basically turns the problem of waste into
a much needed resource.
where’s the worth?
neutrality and contributing to a green economy are crucial global topics which
waste to energy projects support. Siemens is helping to solve the growing waste
challenge by providing technologies and solutions which help convert municipal
solid waste as well as various types of sustainable biomass from woodchips,
sugarcane and sorghum into fuel to produce reliable electricity.
Other benefits of waste management include:
- The reduction
of waste going to landfill sites
- The reduction
of carbon emissions
- The reduction
of the use of fossil fuels
production of cost-effective and environmentally friendly energy
Additionally, the waste to energy industry creates jobs and contributes
to the economy. Waste entrepreneurs in countries like South Africa for example,
can be incorporated into the value chain and logistics of a waste to energy
plant, this could make a substantial impact, not only on their livelihood but that
of their families too.
Population growth and increased density in
African cities cannot be avoided, what’s true is that they’re putting pressure
on individuals, communities, countries and continents to look after the planet.
The waste management industry requires
immediate attention, not only by government but also key industry players to
turn the state of the growing pollution problem in Africa around by producing a
vital resource, electricity.