Ethiopia's mountain of waste becomes a new energy source

It is a towering mountain of waste, a 50-year-old dumpsite, in the outskirts of Addis Ababa, locally known as Koshe, an Amharic word meaning “dirty”. However, this heap of waste will be a thing of the past with the construction of the first ever waste to energy plant, a120 million USD deal project signed by the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) with Cambridge Industries, a United Kingdom based firm, in January 4, 2013. This will see Ethiopia develop the first Sub-Saharan Africa Waste-To-Energy facility. The project – known as the Koshe Waste-to-Energy facility - will be able to generate 50 megawatts of clean energy through a controlled combustion process consuming 350,000 tonnes of waste annually. Apart from producing green energy, an additional power source to the national grid, it will also be a solution in reducing the municipal solid waste, beautifying the city and providing meaningful source of income for young people. The garbage collected from the city will be brought to the site where it will be safely processed and transformed into electricity. 

Greener and cleaner

The Koshe Waste-to-Energy project will be an efficient and cleaner way of managing the garbage emitted from the city’s residents and industries and a better way to diversify the country’s power sources. It will also be a great way of achieving a greener city and leaping a more clean energy future. With Ethiopia on an upward economic growth path, there is a high demand for power alternatives and also waste management for the increased urbanization, with many people trickling to the city. The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) in collaboration with the Addis Ababa’s City administration are working in liaison to ensure waste collection is streamlined to become efficient using a streamlined collection system with new specially designed waste collection vehicles that will in turn create thousands of new jobs with the additional skilled engineers to be employed to run the facility. The facility, meant to be complete in 18 months time, will offer a reprieve to the city dwellers living near the dumpsite from the awful stench and other hazards. 

Construction is underway at the Koshe Waste-to-Energy Project

Cleanleaps to be carbon neutral

An aspect embedded deep in the developmental strategic plans of Ethiopia is to become a carbon-neutral economy by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The adaption of the Koshe Waste to Energy Project is one leap towards this noble cause.   Samuel Alemayehu, rhe East Africa Managing Director for Cambridge Industries (the company tasked with the construction of the facility) says plans are under way to expand its activities in Ethiopia, with feasibility studies done for the waste to energy plants in seven other smaller cities. According to the government’s own preliminary studies, about 35 cities have the potential to generate substantial amounts of electricity in this way.

The Koshe Waste-to-Energy Project is expected to go live in 18 months