4 November 2007 – A 4,2MW biogas plant was launched at PetroSA’s gas to liquids refinery near Mossel Bay in October.

Funded by carbon credits, the plant was developed and financed by MethCap, a subsidiary of international engineering company WSP Group; the Central Energy Fund and empowerment group, NRG.

Registered with the international CDM board on 29th September, the project has a crediting period from August 2006 – July 2016.

The plant uses biogas produced as a by-product of anaerobic digestion when dealing with waste process water at the gas to liquids plant.

The electricity generated by utilising this gas will be used on site by PetroSA.

Owned, operated and maintained by MethCap, the plant will be funded by the sale of electricity by MethCap to PetroSA, and carbon emission reduction certificates under the clean development mechanism.

This project would not have been financially viable, if not for the CDM funding. However, a vital consideration for any CDM project is its contribution to sustainable development, which in the South African context requires a balance of economic, environmental and social considerations.

By creating 60 short term jobs during the planning and construction phases, and two long term jobs, the project contributes toward national economic development and helps diversify South Africa’s energy mix by harnessing a source of renewable energy.

7.5% of the CDM income will go toward poverty alleviation in an initiative jointly administer by Ikamya Labantu (the future of our nation), a nongovernmental organisation, and Eden district municipality.

Environmental impacts include less greenhouse gas emissions and more efficient use of the resources available.

Commented minerals and energy minister, Buyelwa Sonjica, "The launch of the PetroSA biogas-to-electricity project indicates that the implementation of renewable-energy projects is not just a fantasy from government but is actually do-able. It is important to see this project as a catalyst for the development of other renewable-energy projects in the country."

"We believe this project will serve as an example of what can be achieved by thinking creatively and implementing high-specification technology in the developing world" concluded Charles Liebenberg, MethCap managing director.