Waste-to-Energy in Ethiopia Increasing Electricity and Decreasing WasteIn Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, a landfill the size of 36 soccer fields is being turned into renewable energy, meeting the needs of 30 percent of the city’s electricity. The landfill, previously the only waste disposal site in Addis Ababa, made the news in 2017 due to an onsite landslide that killed 114 people. The new energy plant, known as Reppie Waste-to-Energy in Ethiopia, plans to turn 80 percent of the city’s waste into energy each day.

Waste is turned into energy through incineration, a process already popular in many European countries. About 25 percent of European waste is turned into energy and there are over 100 waste-to-energy plants in both France and Germany. Strict European Union emissions standards ensure that no harmful emissions from the incineration process enter the atmosphere, standards that the Reppie project will be held to as well.

Electricity is produced directly from the burning of waste. As garbage is burned in a combustion chamber, heat is produced. The heat boils water, creating steam, which in turn produces energy in a turbine. The emissions that occur in this process are cleaned before they enter the atmosphere, making this a renewable and sustainable source of clean energy.

The Reppie facility came into development out of a partnership between the government of Ethiopia and several international partners, including Chinese and Danish companies. This partnership came together to tailor the needs of the new energy plant to sub-Saharan Africa, as opposed to the waste-to-energy plants already operating in Europe.

The Ethiopian project further protects the environment and its citizens from harmful toxins that are released into groundwater supplies and the atmosphere at landfill sites. Methane is a harmful greenhouse gas that adds to the negative effects of climate change and is typically produced at landfill sites; this project will reduce methane emissions, as well as save space and generate electricity.

In addition to providing energy to three million people, the Reppie project plans to make an additional three million bricks from the waste and recover 30 million liters of water from the landfill. These materials will be additionally used to benefit the population of Addis Ababa. Furthermore, the plant will create hundreds of jobs for people who previously relied on scavenging at the waste site, a dangerous occupation.

In Ethiopia, only 27 percent of the population has access to electricity. While that number includes rural areas, in only urban areas such as Addis Ababa, the number rises to almost 92 percent. However, the Reppie plant is connected to the national grid and the introduction of waste-to-energy in Ethiopia will spread from urban areas and be able to serve rural areas as well, increasing access to electricity to all Ethiopians.

The Reppie Waste-to-Energy in Ethiopia will aid in reducing poverty conditions through increasing access to electricity, creating jobs and improving the environment to the benefit of human health. The plant will additionally be a model for similar plants across the continent of Africa. Already, seven other plants are being planned. These plants together will leave a lasting positive impact on both the environment and the energy needs of people across the continent.

– Hayley Herzog

Photo: Flickr

If the entire world lived like the average American, it would need 5 planets to provide enough resources to sustain that life.  Every day, the average person throws away 4 pounds of waste and 84% of that so called garbage should be recycled.  Most American families throw away about 88 pounds of plastic every year and as a result, the United States produces enough garbage daily that it would be equivalent to the weight of the entire Empire State Building.

The world actually produces enough waste that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch has been formed, which is a giant rotating vortex of debris and waste in the Pacific Ocean.  The area of this gargantuan patch of filth occupying the Pacific is equal to double the size of the entire United States of America and holds close to 100 million tons of waste.

At the same time, and being a causing factor, the human population has grown so much that it has actually grown more in the past 50 years than it did in the 4 million years before that.  The world growing is actually a very good thing and no one should try to stop it, but overpopulation can be a very serious issue because that would entail eventually reaching the carrying capacity for mankind, meaning that hundreds of thousands would starve.

The important thing to remember is that development and education is the best ways to combat overpopulation, not just letting people stay in extreme poverty.  The more foreign aid a country receives, the more that country can develop and educate its people in order to show them about contraceptives as well as introduce them to vaccines to keep their children healthy so that they don’t have the need for more children.

Many good-intentioned Americans would say something along the lines that they try their best on a daily basis to reduce their effect on the environment in whatever ways possible.  Unfortunately, they are not always presented with the best options and really need to be educated on what would be the best way to help the environment.

As countries around the world are developing, that means they are slowly creating more pollution and they need to be educated as well, but they can’t be unless there already is someone that can educate them or lead by example.

Many Americans don’t consider climate change when making political decisions, and it could take just that to actually combat climate change.  One of the best things that Americans can do is buy in bulk, that is of course if food won’t be wasted, so that they can conserve packaging.

As much as 50% of the waste in a person’s garbage is actually just packaging, so the less packaging that is bought means the less garbage produced.  It would only cost about $13 billion a year in order to satisfy the most basic food and sanitation requirements of the world (equivalent to what Americans and Europeans spend on perfume), it’s just a matter of awareness.

Kenneth W. Kliesner

Sources: Solar Energy World, Rethink Recycling
Photo: Cookiesound