Evaluation of energy potential of Municipal Solid Waste from African urban areas

Energy is a critical issue for Africa, where large number of people do not have access to energy. Energy recovery from waste can play a role in minimising the impact of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) on the environment with the additional benefit of providing a local source of energy. This study was carried out to assess, at the African level, the role which waste could play in providing energy to citizens and provides an estimate of the total potential of energy from waste incineration and from landfill gas (LFG). The results show an energy potential of all waste generated in Africa of 1125 PJ in 2012 and 2199 PJ in 2025. Nevertheless, if energy recovery through LFG is considered, about 155 PJ could be recovered in 2012 and 363 PJ in 2025 if waste actually collected, or projected to be collected, is considered. The electricity generation could reach 62.5 TWh in 2012 and 122.2 TWh in 2025, in case of full waste collection, compared with electricity consumption in Africa of 661.5 TWh in 2010. If waste actually collected is considered, these estimates decrease respectively to 34.1 TWh in 2012 and 83.8 TWh in 2025. Apart from continental estimates, the study provides detailed information at the country level and a vision of the spatial distribution of energy from waste based on the city population in major African cities.

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