Biogas plant in South Africa boosts energy production a year after construction

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The constructed biogas plant in South Africa located in the Uilenkraal dairy farm in the Western Cape has broken the record by achieving a 1.5GWh electricity production this August just a year after it began operation.

Since production work begun, the plant has been meeting 95 percent of the electricity demand for dairy farmers, animal feed milling and crop irrigation activities.The plant also produces high quality bio-fertilizer as a by-product.

Developed and built by CAE, the biogas plant in South Africa is able to produce more than 1000t/y of methane from a 7000m3 fully mixed, fully heated, lined lagoon biodigester.

According to the MD for Cape Advanced Engineering (CAE), Andrew Taylor, the average on farm utilisation of 240kVA is way below the biodigester gas production which is adequate for at least 600Kva.

This indicates that the production of 360kVA of potential power is not being utilized and in addition to this, more than half of the biogas that is produced is wasted through flaring.

Taylor also noted that installation of more generators would enable the Uilenkraal biogas power generation plant to generate 1MVA of electricity into the grid during peak times for up to 8 hours in a day.

Taylor further noted that the main barrier to development of  biogas plants in South Africa is limited revenue due to projects below 1MW not selling or being connected to the electricity national grid.

However, Southern African Biogas Industry Association is helping in the campaigning for biogas projects to be put in place, this would aid in dovetailing it with solar and wind projects which have no schedule for production.