The Uilenkraal dairy farm, near Darling in the Western Cape, achieved a 1.5GWh electricity-production milestone during August.
One year into operation, the 500kVA biogas power project has been backed by commercial dairy farmers Willem and Paul Basson. The plant is currently meeting 95% of the electricity demand for the farm’s dairy, animal-feed milling and crop irrigation activities. As a by-product, the plant also produces high-quality biofertiliser.
Engineering News reports that the facility is able to produce more than 1,000 t/y of methane through a 7,000m³ fully mixed, fully heated, lined lagoon biodigester, developed and built by CAE, which began life as Stellenbosch University’s engine and fuel technology centre of excellence, before being privatised in 1999. But Taylor says average on-farm utilisation of 240kVA falls well short of the biodigester’s gas production, which is sufficient for at least 600kVA.
The IPP Office is demonstrating a greater willingness to accommodate the sector, which is believed to have potential to produce up to 5,000MW from plants with capacities of between 200kW and 1MW. The Southern African Biogas Industry Association was also campaigning for biogas projects to be incentivised as “peaking” power plants, dovetailing with the solar and wind projects whose production cannot be scheduled. There has also been movement on the price cap to around R1.47/kWh, which was far more favourable, but possibly still below the needs of many of the smaller projects.
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