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S.Africa: Automotive manufacturer waste to power plant online

BMW takes first steps to achieving carbon neutral power by 2020 target

In South Africa, automotive manufacturer BMW’s 4.4MW waste to power plant has started generating power for the Rosslyn manufacturing plant in Pretoria, bringing the firm closer to achieving its goal of running “their production on carbon neutral electricity by 2020.”

The German automobile manufacturer partnered with waste to energy independent power producer Bio2Watt to develop the ZAR150 million ($11 million) biowaste plant, located in Bronkhorspruit.

Bio2Watt has a contract to purchase waste from Beefcor, a cattle farm in the nearby area.

Waste to power

An estimated 40,000 tonnes a year of cattle manure and a further 20,000 tonnes of mixed organic waste will be fed into two anaerobic digesters that will produce the biogas feedstock for a combined heat and power application using Caterpillar internal combustion gas generator sets.

According to Engineering news, “the ten-year offtake partnership aimed to provide up to 30% of the 12MW of energy” needed for the operation of the manufacturing plant.

Carbon neutral electricity

Bio2Watt CEO Sean Thomas told media on Friday at the unveiling of the waste to power plant: “The biogas process relies on organic waste, which is directed into a digester where biogas is produced and then goes into a gas engine to produce electricity. This is inserted into the power grid for uptake by power purchasers like BMW.”

Managing director of BMW SA, Tim Abbott, told media that the project will contribute towards the firm’s global target of transitioning towards being powered 100% by renewable energy over the next few years.

The energy management team at the Rosslyn plant is confident that the plant can rely fully on carbon neutral electricity by 2020, the manufacturer said in a statement.

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.