Gas extraction project in full swing

Phase 2 of the landfill gas flaring project in underway.
Phase 2 of the landfill gas flaring project in underway.

The landfill gas flaring project at the Coastal Park landfill facility in Muizenberg has been firing on all cylinders since it was launched about 18 months ago. This project is aimed at destroying methane gas that is produced by the landfill, and to convert this to less harmful carbon dioxide and energy. To date methane, equivalent to about 138 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, has been destroyed at the landfill.

World Ozone Day was commemorated on Monday 16 September and it was a time to once again do a health check on the ozone layer, its depletion and what can be done differently to further protect it. The ozone layer acts as an invisible shield and protects people from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun

“Methane gas, which is present in the landfill, has a global warming potential approximately 25 times greater than carbon dioxide. Not only does this offset carbon emissions, but gas that is converted to energy can be used to fuel a variety of operations,” said Mayco member for water and waste, Xanthea Limberg.

She said the City is committed to reducing its carbon footprint from municipal infrastructure and services, by rolling out this project at the City’s landfill sites in 18-months’ time.

Methane is a highly combustible gas that can be collected and used as a heating fuel in industry, to generate electricity or as a fuel for vehicles.

The gas extraction and flaring systems have been established at Coastal Park and Bellville South landfills, and a similar system will be constructed at the Vissershok South landfill.

The Coastal Park landfill gas extraction project has yielded a number of successes since its inception:

. it has successfully extracted landfill gas from the landfill facility;

. the gas has been flared to produce less harmful carbon dioxide equivalents – about 138 000 tonnes.

. it has reduced the smells produced by biogas which is a key community and environmental benefit;

. a greenhouse gas reduction project has been established which is used to generate carbon credits that will earn revenue for the City when the credits are traded.

The launch marked an important milestone for a project that has been years in the making and which required extensive work to be done by officials to register a UN-approved Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project. CDM is a mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol, which allows developing countries to implement approved carbon offsetting projects, which developed countries may invest in by purchasing “carbon credits”.

The City has now initiated the tender process to realise phase 2 of the project where the infrastructure will be extended to the other landfills.

“The destruction of this greenhouse gas, which is a major contributor to global warming, assists not only the City but contributes to national climate change mitigation goals,” said Limberg.

Methane gas in landfills is created when organic matter decomposes. Therefore, the City is working to reduce volumes of organic waste sent to landfill sites through a number of programmes, including the Home Composting container rollout, which encourages residents to make use of organic waste for their green spaces.

V Information on the home composting programme is available at www.capetown.gov.za/City-Connect/Activities-and-programmes/Cleaning-and-recycling/home-composting-programme.

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