Waste to Energy Conference

In an ideal world, all waste in the world would be prevented. Sadly, current realities point to a different fact – the consumption habits of the modern consumer are causing a huge worldwide waste problem. Our farms, rural areas, cities and seas are clogged with waste products that are threatening the very life fabric of our environment. South Africa alone churned about half a billion kilogrammes of waste in each of the last two years, with little being brought back into circulation. Besides, there are a number of third world countries that have provided a haven for export waste from rich countries that have overfilled their landfills.

But there is a way out of this waste mess, and most traditional methods have pointed to waste products being disposed of, reduced, recycled, reused or recovered. Then there is the option of Waste-to-Energy – the process of generating energy in the form of electricity and/or heat from the primary treatment of waste. This has been slow in taking root in South Africa, but in other parts of the world, alternative energy companies are developing new ways to recycle waste by generating electricity from landfill waste and pollution, thereby creating completely circular economies where virtually nothing is lost as waste.

Locally, waste-to-energy plants are slowly cropping up, and this is an encouraging sign in the fight to keep waste products off the landfill by 2030. LafargeHolcim has been one of the industry leaders in this vein, erecting a recycle kiln that has been making strides turning waste into useful energy and bi-products for its cement plants. At other waste-recovery complexes, most Waste-to-Energy processes produce electricity and/or heat directly through combustion, or produce a combustible fuel commodity, such as methane, methanol, ethanol or synthetic fuels.

Against this background, the 2018 edition of the Waste-to-Energy Conference seeks to gather thought papers on measures that can be taken to fast-track the circular economy bandwagon. At the conference, latest waste-to-energy conversion technologies and systems that include thermal (Gasification, Thermal depolymerization and Pyrolysis) and non-thermal (Anaerobic digestion, Fermentation and Mechanical biological treatment) means will be discussed.

There is an array of latest solutions that can be applied to the waste problem before we turn to landfills, and these will also be explored at the conference. Government officials, heavy industry leaders, climate change and environmental conservation campaigners are among many prospective attendees that will benefit from the event; which will be held on the 22nd and 23rd of March 2018 at the Emperors Palace Convention Centre in Johannesburg.