The first phase of the multi million rand project to generate electricity by utilizing the methane gas released from Durban’s landfill sites went live in December 2006.

With the environmental impact assessments complete and a positive ROD received,  the project received the blessing of the Designated National Authority (DNA) in the Department of Mineral and Energies (DME)  and was registered with the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) executive board of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Durban was proud to turn on South Africa’s first (CDM) landfill Gas to electricity project.

The project is aimed in the first instance at addressing global warming and climate change which is one of the most serious environmental issues facing the world today. It is widely known that landfill sites, with wastes undergoing a methanogenic stage of biodecomposition, produce large volumes of landfill gas (LFG) typically containing some 40-60% methane.

Since landfill electricity-from-gas generation projects are currently not competitive with local electricity costs –  being about 66% more expensive than current Eskom figures – the project is made possible through “Carbon Finance” which for the first phase of the project is channeled through the World Bank’s Prototype Carbon Fund (PCF), a Public Private Partnership with participants from several countries worldwide.

This recently available carbon finance – accessible since South Africa’s signing of a Host Country agreement allowing for the acceptance of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects – has made it possible for financially viable landfill gas utilisation projects to be developed on the African continent.