At Dechets a l’Or, we love learning about better ways to value waste. On November 28th 2016, Dechets a l’Or had the great privilege of visiting the Waste to Energy project of THECOGAS Senegal directed by Dr. Lamine Ndiaye.
THECOGAS Senegal is a joint-venture between the Compagnie de l’Eau, de l’Energie et de l’Environnement (C3E) and THECOGAS B.V. Netherland. We were fortunate to visit their Waste to Energy project in the Société de Gestion des Abattoirs du Sénégal (SOGAS) in Dakar where they are doing impressive work in the field of biogas. THECOGAS builds and maintains waste processing facilities for industrial businesses producing large quantities of organic waste to generate biogas as well as thermal energy and organic fertilizers. The venture uses a key-in-hand approach whereby they design and build waste processing facilities adapted to business’ activities and train staff on operations and maintenance, all in the aim of enabling businesses to run cleaner and more sustainable operations. Throughout the process, THECOGAS performs routine checks to make sure installations are running smoothly.
The THECOGAS model is interesting because of its unique approach to the industrial sector, waste and biogas production and its huge potential on the African continent. At SOGAS, the venture has adopted a slaughterhouse model in order to add value to the huge quantities of waste generated by the slaughterhouse every day. The production of biogas revolves around 3 main poles:
- The Biology Pole: blood, waste water and contents from animals’ stomachs are placed in a pre-mixing well, then sent to an anaerobic digester
- The Refinery & Transportation Pole: the biogas is processed, cleaned, and extracted
- The Electricity Pole: an end-product of combined electricity and heat is generated and rerouted for the slaughterhouse’s consumption.
As Dechets a l’Or expands operations and starts establishing waste processing complexes, questions regarding ways to process and add value to waste in the most efficient manner will become more important. The THECOGAS model thus becomes very attractive given its adaptability and its profitability. Indeed, at SOGAS, the system is able to process 8 to 11 tons of organic waste and 40 m³ of water at once. This produces 1500 m³ of liquid biogas which translates into about 1000 kWh of electricity as well as warm water. The digestate produced through the anaerobic digestion of the waste is used as an organic fertilizer.
For the average African city and the continent at large, what this all means is that there are incredible opportunities in waste. Reliable and uninterrupted access to electricity and energy being among the many problems of growing African cities, ventures like these make one hopeful for a future in which African cities can meet their own needs in terms of energy. A waste-to-energy model ensures a more sustainable source of energy for growing cities as well as less harmful farming practices for agricultural areas thanks to the use of organic fertilizers that are healthier and gentler on soils. For Dechets a l’Or in particular, this Waste to Energy project reinforces our conviction that there is indeed value in waste!
Claire Ba, Operations Fellow - Dechets a l'Or