ABN – Urban waste could generate enough electricity to power 40 million African households – representing about 20% of the population – in 2025, according to a study co-authored by the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC).
The researchers found that using landfill gas and waste incineration could have provided more than 20% of the continent’s total energy consumption even in 2010.
Urban waste increases exponentially as countries develop, which means that Africa is struggling to manage increasing refuse as progress is made in urbanisation, population growth and economic development.
The problem is made worse by the continent’s lack of infrastructure and environmentally friendly methods of waste disposal, meaning rubbish is often just dumped or burned.
JRC researchers said that using the energy content of waste could be “one of the leading ideas for improving Africa’s waste management”.
This could be done via waste-to-energy incineration plants, or the cheaper option of landfill gas plants, which combined could generate an estimated 83.8 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2025.