Use of Landfills to solve energy crisis

Chief Executive Officer of Renewable Green Energy Ghana, Richard Dablah believes, the solution to Ghana’s current energy crisis sits in the numerous landfill sites dotted around the country.

Biomethane gas from decomposition in landfill sites has the characteristics of natural gas with only a few impurities.

This can be used to generate electricity for individual communities and reduce the burden and dependence on the national grid.

‘With one thousand five hundred tons of waste you could generate about 10megawatt hours of electricity, so why then bury it?’

Mr Dablah adds it makes no sense to bury and burn resources which can be used to solve real developmental challenges.

He explains that the process to extracting methane gas from landfills to power generators is quite straight forward.

Landfill gasification involves digging wells in the site before decommissioning with pipes connected to gas collection points. Bacteria will breakdown the organic waste and methane gas will be produced to power generators.

The more expensive science of plasma gasification can convert all the waste in the landfill to synthetic gas for energy production.

However, for Richard Dablah, harnessing the fuel potential of landfill sites is just damage control, the solution to the country’s waste management crisis is to work towards getting rid of landfills altogether.

‘It is rather unfortunate that Ghana chose the cheapest waste management solution’.

He says the first step is to start segregating waste at source so that it can be managed accordingly, whether to recycle or reuse.

Communities and household can also use their food and other organic waste to produce fuel and compost.

‘Currently our composition of waste is 60% organic. That is a lot of fuel’

He contends that ‘if we had practiced segregation earlier we would have minimized the waste we generate and would not be facing a sanitation disaster’

He concludes that ‘the land can be used for other things, like schools instead of just burying resources’.

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