SOUTH AFRICA: CFM invests $38 million in waste-to-energy project

By Published On: 6 July, 2023Categories: News

The fund manager Climate Fund Managers (CFM) is investing $38.5 million in the Bio2Watt Energy project in Bronkhorstspruit, South Africa. The company wants to develop a 9.8 MW installed power capacity from organic waste.

The capacity of the future biogas plant in Bronkhorstspruit will be increased from 4.8 to 9.8 MW, thanks to a $38.5 million investment by Climate Fund Managers (CFM), a climate investment fund manager based in The Hague, Netherlands. The biogas plant project is being carried out by the South African company Bio2Watt Energy, which wants to produce biogas from the fermentation of organic waste collected in the Gauteng province of South Africa.

The gas will be produced by fermenting at least 240 000 tonnes of organic waste per year. The heat produced by the combustion of the biogas will be used to generate electricity. Bio2Watt Energy will supply the energy produced to the Rosslyn plant of German car manufacturer BMW in Tshwane, Gauteng. As well as diverting some waste from landfill, the plant will avoid emissions of 48 000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, which is equivalent to about 120 million kilometres driven by a passenger car, says Bio2Watt Energy. The company is headed by Sean Thomas.

Reducing GHG emissions

According to official figures, at least 3.67 million tonnes of waste are not handled by the management system established by the authorities in South Africa. And in landfills, organic waste decomposes in the open air, emitting greenhouse gases (GHGs), including methane. The waste also produces leachate, a concentrated liquid fraction that pollutes soil, waterways and groundwater.

CFM has invested in the Bronkhorstspruit biogas plant through its Climate Investor One and Climate Investor Two funds. “The $38.5 million commitment from Climate Investor One and Climate Investor Two for the BBP plant follows an initial investment of $9.77 million in development financing, allowing Bio2Watt Energy to consolidate its project pipeline into a $227 million investment opportunity,” says CFM.

The potential of waste-to-energy

In the Rainbow Nation, Bio2Watt Energy is also building a plant at Morester’s Vyvlei Dairy farm, whose main business is supplying milk to South Africa’s Clover Food Group. The plant will handle the waste produced by the 7,000 cows on the dairy farm. The cow dung will be mixed with other organic waste collected in the Malmesbury municipality to produce biogas.

Its 4.8 MW biogas plant will supply electricity to the facilities of South African Breweries (SAB), a subsidiary of the Belgian-Brazilian brewery group Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev). Bio2Watt claims a portfolio of opportunity of 330 GWh (per year) in South Africa and Mozambique.