Biomass waste-to-electricity : Kwazulu Natal as a case study

Norris, Grant (2005-12)

Research project (Masters Development Finance)--University of Stellenbosch, 2005.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study set out to examine the potential of biomass waste-to-electricity with specific focus on KwaZulu Natal, a province of South Africa that is particularly well endowed with biomass resources. Sugar cane and plantation forestry are both prominent in the local agriculture sector, and generate significant residues either in the field or at processing mills. The ready availability of these biomass resources presents genuine opportunities for furthering renewable energy use in the province. A central focus of the study is whether biomass waste is a viable source of clean energy and to what extent it can compete on cost and reliability with conventional fossil fuel options. There is concern that the latter are unsustainable over the longterm, and the growing threat of global warming implies that major changes in the energy system are necessary, possibly involving new energy sources as well as different conversion and distribution processes in the system. The increased use of biomass energy as a possible substitute for conventional energy can reduce dependency on fossil fuels. The main objective of the study is to assess the economic viability and potential for power generation using the two biomass residues most common in Kwazulu Natal. The study considers unique variables such as biomass quantity, energy yield, and technology, all of which have a bearing on the economic outcome of waste-to-energy projects. The study aims to assess the influence of such variables on power generation, whilst also endeavouring to quantify and assess the potential of biomass waste energy in the region. The results of the study indicate that waste material from both biomass types could serve as source for significant electricity generation capacity. The study concludes that sugar bagasse is the more attractive option of the two biomass types.

AFRIKAASE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie ondersoek die potensiaal van bio-massa afval-na-elektrisiteit met spesifieke fokus op Kwazulu-Natal, ‘n provinsie van Suid Afrika wat besonder goed bedeeld is met biomassa bronne. Suiker-riet en bosbou-plantasies is beide prominent in die plaaslike landbou bedryf en genereer ‘n substansiële hoeveelheid organiese oorskot in die veld of by prosesserings-aanlegte. Die beskikbaarheid van hierdie biomassa bronne bide werklike geleenthede om hernubare energie is die provinsie te bevorder. ‘n Kern-fokus van die studie kyk na die haalbaarheid van bio-afval as ‘n hernubare brandstof vir skoon energie asook tot watter mate dit kan kompeteer met konvensionele fossiel-brandstowwe in terme van koste en betroubaarheid. Daar is kommer dat konvesnionele bronne nie volhoubaar is in die langtermyn nie. Verder is aardverwarming ‘n groeiende problem en dit is duidelik dat daar groot verandering moet polaasvind in die energie-bedryf, met nuwe bronne sowel as ander omsettingsen distribusie-prosesse. Die toenemende gebruik van biomassa-gebasseerde energie as plaasvervanger vir konvensionele energie kan ons afhanklikheid van fossiel-brandstowwe verminder. Die hoof oogmerk van die studie is om die ekonomiese haalbaarheid en potensiaal vir krag-opwekking van die twee mees volop biomassa-afval bronne in Kwazulu Natal te asseseer. Die studie neem unieke veranderlikes soos biomassa hoeveelheid, energie opbrengs en energie in ag, wat alles ’n invloed het op die ekonomie van afval-na-energue projekte. Die studie poog om sulke veranderlikes se invloed op krag-opwekking the bepaal, terwyl dit ook streef om die potensiaal van bio-afval in die streek te kwantifiseer. Die resultate van die studie dui daarop dat oorskot van beide tipes biomassa kan dien as bron vir substansiële elektrisitiets-opwekking kapasiteit. Die studie kom egter tot die gevolgtrekking dat suiker ampas (die afval van suiker-riet) die meer aantreklike opsie is van die twee soorte bio-oorskot.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/50289
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