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South Africa: Durban launches rubbish-dump power plant

Africa's first power plant to run on methane gas extracted from a rubbish dump began generating electricity in Durban on Tuesday.
The plant, built with funding from the French Development Bank, was officially opened by eThekwini mayor Obed Mlaba at the city's Mariannhill landfill site.

The plant is the first of three that the city expects to have completed by the end of 2007 and should earn the city over R400-million from selling electricity to the national grid as well as selling carbon credits.

City manager Mike Sutcliffe said: "Part of this is about taking advantage of the Kyoto Protocol, which allows for carbon trading. Without this, projects like ours would not be financially viable."

A series of wells have been sunk in the landfill site to extract the methane gas that comes from the decomposing refuse. A series of interlinking pipes from the wells channels the gas to the plant where the methane is burnt. During the burning process, electricity is generated.

The Mariannhill plant is expected to generate 1 000 kilowatts of electricity.

Additional information: Read the full story at Engineering News
News date: 21/03/2007

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