The GCX waste team is currently managing the operation of an anaerobic digester at Elgin Fruit Juices. The digester processes waste fruit from normal factory operation, and as a result produces biogas which is rich in methane. The biogas is then used to generate electricity for use on the plant. GCX was called onto the project to iron out the last technicalities required for the digester to start producing gas.
“We take our hat off to Elgin for investing in innovative and clean technologies, and we are confident that they’ll reap commercial benefits,” says GCX chemical engineer Jennifer Couperthwaite. “This technology can be tricky but we’re enjoying the problem-solving; there’s no doubt we’re the team for the job.”
The beneficiation of waste has significant financial incentives for companies: in the case of Elgin Fruit Juices, the correct operation of the bio-digester will decrease the cost of production through reduced reliance on electricity from the grid and remove the cost of waste disposal. In addition, many companies have begun to move towards sustainable business practises, and a project of this nature has significant reputational benefits. Under the careful management of GCX, Elgin Fruit Juices will have the opportunity to enjoy all these benefits.
Making a success of the biogas projects will further play an important role in the industry, which has not yet reached its potential in South Africa due to generally being poorly managed. This, combined with a lack of experienced individuals, has resulted in mediocre results achieved by the industry thus far. GCX’s waste team possesses both the skills and experience required to make a success of the Elgin Fruit Juices bio-digester project and others like it, and is working to prove waste to energy solutions around the country.