Dump site a potential energy source
But to environmentalists, Ngozi Mine, a common reference to a Bulawayo City Council rubbish dump site, is a potential source of energy which if exploited fully can be a panacea not only to the city’s power shortages but to the country’s as well.
Renewable energy expert and principal energy development officer in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, Mr Blessing Jonga, said there is huge potential for municipalities to utilise biodegradable waste to produce energy.
Mr Jonga said local authorities in Zimbabwe can sustainably generate energy in two areas namely: waste water treatment at sewage treatment plants and vegetable markets and landfills.
At sewage treatment plants in cities like Harare and Bulawayo, there are digesters which help in treating organic waste through decomposition of these organic materials by methane producing bacteria.
The biogas can also be used to generate electricity using biogas generators which are called combined heat and power systems.
All biogas generated at the city’s sewerage treatment plants, Mrs Mpofu said, is released into the atmosphere as there is no infrastructure in place to harness the gas for sustainable use.
The biogas produced will be used to generate electricity.
The Ministry of Energy and Power Development, under the Rural Electrification Fund, has also constructed a 350m3 digester system at Kotwa Growth Point in the Mudzi area in Mashonaland East Province.
“There is now capacity in the country for biogas technology.
Biogas digester technology is actually also a waste management technology which can be used to treat waste water,” said Mr Jonga.