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Enhancing Science Partnerships for Innovation and Sustainable Development


Ambassador for the Year of Science

Interview with the special ambassador of the Year of Science, Motsi Mabuse
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Photo gallery: Closing Event in Berlin 16/04/2013

Science Network

German-South African Science Network
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South African National Space Agency
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“Biowaste to Energy” – how waste can help improve the environmental balance

Workshop Sebenza landfill Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg
(c) Ludger Eltrop

The South African province of Gauteng has set itself the goal of putting the region firmly on the sustainable energy map. A range of measures were agreed to this end, including an overall energy strategy and a strategy to respond to climate change. Against this backdrop, a workshop on the topic of “Biowaste to Energy” was held at the University of Johannesburg on 11 October. The conference offered the specialist audience a platform for discussing the potential ways of using landfill gases for the production of fuels for passenger vehicles.

The workshop put the spotlight on one of the most important resources in towns and cities: biowaste. With optimal use as energy source, biowaste harbours great potential to considerably improve the environmental balance. In addition to the general possibilities of this form of energy production, the potential ways of using landfill gases for the production of fuels for passenger vehicles were also discussed.

The specific task was to investigate how waste – the biogases of which are processed into biomethane – can be effectively used as fuel. For this, the participants visited Africa’s first pilot plant, where biomethane is generated using innovative membrane technology – a process that is still rare, even in Europe.

The event marked the start of even closer collaboration between German and South African universities. For instance, the University of Johannesburg is planning to support a project to set up a biogas plant on its campus shortly, and the University of Stuttgart will also join in with this venture.