Afrox is partnering with bio-tech start-up, New Horizons Energy, to turn organic waste destined for landfills into useable products for South African industries.
New Horizons Energy will turn organic waste into useable bio-methane at purity levels of over 90%. Furthermore, the addition of a brand new carbon dioxide (CO2) source to the Afrox portfolio will add significant capacity to Afrox’s national, but more importantly Western Cape, infrastructure.
The New Horizons plant is located in Athlone, near Cape Town, and is expected to start generating bio-gas by mid 2017. Afrox will then distribute the compressed bio-methane to its customer base as an alternative to LPG and/or diesel.
Bio-methane is a proven alternative to existing fuels used primarily for heating application across a multitude of sectors and processes ranging from food production to metal fabrication, as well as for the generation of electricity.
Heinrich Uytenbogaardt, Strategic Marketing Manager, Bulk Markets, commented, “Afrox is currently in discussions with potential customers about the advantages of a local source of bio-gas in the Western Cape, and while compressed natural gas (CNG) is already widely used in many countries around the world, this is still a relatively underdeveloped market in South Africa, and in Cape Town in particular, but one we expect to grow.”
“The upgraded bio-methane from the New Horizons plant in Athlone has a number of advantages over other fuel sources currently available in the Western Cape; it is cleaner burning with far less production of sulphur (S) or nitrogen (N) by-products, and it will have a far more consistent quality which will be especially valuable to processing industries.” Uytenbogaardt continued.
“In addition, the benefits to the environment are worth noting, as the process eliminates the need to send waste to landfill and less harmful greenhouse gases are generated from the use of bio-methane versus other conventional fuels.” He added.
The CO2 storage facility comprising of vessels specially designed and manufactured for Afrox brought in via the Cape Town port, awaits commissioning of the New Horizons’ facility in Athlone.
The CO2 produced by the New Horizons Energy plant is planned to meet market requirements offering Western Cape industry, agriculture and waste water treatment customers a renewable door-step gases solution. Currently CO2 for the Western Cape market is predominantly sourced from Mossel Bay, which is more than 380 km away.
“Renewable energy sources like the New Horizons Energy plant can make a meaningful contribution to South Africa’s energy needs going forward,” said Uytenbogaardt.
“Taking waste organic matter and digesting it, after first separating out the recyclable material, to produce CO2 and bio-methane, will increase the contribution of renewable energy to the Western Cape’s energy mix,” Uytenbogaardt continued.
Currently, South Africa is reliant on methane / natural gas, supplied from Mozambique; but New Horizons Energy plans to supply local bio-methane to business across South Africa with further plans to roll out more anaerobic digestion plants to other provinces going forward; utilising Afrox’s extensive supply chain and gases expertise.
Afrox entered into a long-term purchase agreement with New Horizons Energy in early 2015, under which Afrox will purchase all CO2 and compressed bio-methane gas from the Athlone plant for resale and distribution.
“This is a relatively new technology for South Africa and is exciting in its growth potential and variety of applications for local markets,” concluded Uytenbogaardt.