South Africans throw away over 566 million tonnes of rubbish each year according to the Drankenstein municipality. Much of our garbage ends up buried in massive landfills, causing untold damage to the environment. Add the waste that comes from farming, and you have a ticking environmental time bomb.
Livestock production is one of the most destructive farming practices there is. Times reports that some 40% of the earth’s surface is used for the purposes of keeping all seven billion of us fed, while the production of red meat requires 28 times more land than pork or chicken farming, 11 times more water and results in five times more climate-warming emissions.
Livestock manure is responsible for 18% of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together, according to the Independent.
Bio2watt is a private, forward-thinking energy generator that has partnered with car manufacturer BMW to use waste to produce power. The company is producing electricity for the car manufacturer to use as a supplement to their power needs in manufacturing. Using offal from abattoirs, manure from livestock farmers in the area and organic waste from juice makers, the company is able to produce two mega watts of power.
South Africa has been battling energy shortages since 2008. Alternative power generation is one of the ways government is looking to supplement the country’s energy supply, and biogas is one way to do it.
Sean Thomas, founder of Bio2watt, says companies can work together to reduce the environmental damage.
“We had to convince some of the players that instead of sending your waste matter to [a] landfill, we can process it in the plant. It creates jobs, it’s about sustainability and you’re meeting some of your sustainability indexes,” he says
Bacteria break down waste and methane is produced. The methane is then used to power generators that produce energy.
Watch Sean Thomas explain how waste matter can be used to produce energy.