Africa’s first Waste-to-Energy Facility was launched in the outskirts of the capital last Saturday, becoming the first such facility in the continent. Expected to have a processing capacity of approximately 1400 tons of waste a day, the facility was inaugurated in the shadow of Reppi Landfill which collapsed and killed scores of people, last year.
The project came about with the partnership of the Ethiopian Electric Power, Cambridge Industries Energy and the China Urban Construction Design and Research Institute, the later known to have constructed a slew of such facilities in China and a number of European nations. The Denmark based Turnkey Engineering served as a consultant for the project that took four years to complete at a cost of close to USD 3 billion.
The facility is expected to take waste from Addis Ababa’s five million populations and recycle them into resultant heat energy, ultimately turning into much needed electricity in a population that still lacks basic form of energy for everyday needs.
Seen as one that is environmentally sustainable, it was modeled after those found in developed nations and is to be emulated in a number of African nations.
According to Samuel Alemayehu, the Reppi Facility is to process up to 1,000,000 kg of waste per day, with installed capability of producing a maximum waste of 1,400,000 kg per day that are to be collected by the Addis Ababa City Authority.
“Instead of dumping the waste at the open dumping site in Koshe, the trucks will drive into the nearby Reppie facility and dispose of it within a controlled environment inside the building” he told The Reporter. “This facility generates 185,000,000 kwhrs of electricity while operating 85% of the time in a year (equivalent to 7,400 hrs a year), as it is required to do under the contract with EEP. It is able to reach the required capacity using one 25 MW (25,000KW) turbine”.
While the project was completed belatedly, there were rumors of not meeting its agreed target of 50MW power plant. However, the company insists that is was simply contracted to install a plant with one 25MW turbine. Executives of Cambridge told The Reporter that the facility is at a 25 MW hourly production capacity, with an additional 25MW back-up turbine to ensure reliability and is designed to operate for 7,400 hours a year as per their contract with the nation’s energy agency.
“The plant only needs one 25 MW turbine at a given time to produce the required output of electricity (185,000,000 KWHR running for at least 85% of the time), the company said in a statement sent to The Reporter. “The second 25 MW turbine was provided by the contractor at EEP’s request, but without increasing the price of the original 25 MW project. The second turbine was not to double the annual power output, as the target generation capacity remained at 185,000,000KWhr per year”.