PepsiCo Isando Biogas Project Launch



One of the highlights of the 2022 Enlit Africa event at the CTICC was the project launch of PepsiCo’s organic waste to resource facility in South Africa. The SustainGroup stand was abuzz with activity, as Managing Director Tobias Hobbach and Operations Director Ames Martin presented the gas-to-power component of this exciting development in Isando, Ekurhuleni.

Also exhibiting the project was Rob Holmes from Tecroveer, the main contractor on this development, who will oversee the mechanical, electrical, and civil installation. We were also joined by Anaergia, the global waste-to-energy specialists charged with pre-treatment, anaerobic digestion, dewatering, and the cleaning of the biogas.    

PepsiCo’s Sustainability Strategy

The Isando site in question is one of 41 PepsiCo facilities in South Africa, housing most notably, Simba chips. Globally, PepsiCo aims to achieve Net-Zero emissions across its value chain by 2040, and the Isando plant was identified as a focal point for its Sub-Saharan African operations.

The Project’s Motivation

PepsiCo identified an opportunity to deal with its organic waste and wastewater in a sustainable way. Broadly speaking, it wants to use biogas to offset its heat and electricity costs, but additional motivation is to decarbonize electricity supply to the site, minimize waste that would usually need to be removed from the site and to generate agricultural fertilizer benefit to go back to its supply chain.  

Combined Heat and Power Generation

SustainPower’s scope for this endeavor is that of packager and supplier of the Combined Heat & Power (CHP) solution. Also known as cogeneration, CHPs offer a highly efficient power generation process which utilizes as much as 90% of the energy contained in the fuel.

Mechanical energy is harvested from the generator and thermal energy from the combustion process. An additional benefit is that an engine cooling and heat recovery system may be included as part of a package. In our case, hot water will be used to keep the anaerobic digesters at an optimal temperature.

Why this Project is Important

SustainPower’s CHP unit will be fully containerized, sound attenuated & locally packaged in Cape Town by our very own engineering team. It will be built with grid syncing capabilities and crucially, it will emit 46% less CO2e than the traditional alternative. This alternative would usually be a combination of grid electricity plus hot water from a coal boiler.

Approximately 50 tons of daily organic material (potatoes and corn waste) will be converted to electricity, heat, cleaner water, and invaluable fertilizer soil amendment. This truly represents a solution that fuels the circular economy.

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