Madam Waste is a 100% black female-owned company based in Johannesburg, South Africa. It began unofficial operations in 2016 before formalising in 2017. Given the high rate of urbanisation and ever-increasing demand for sustainable and clean energy, Madam Waste realised that there was a need to provide African governments, investors, parastatals and research institutions with tailored solutions to address these challenges, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on Smart Cities and Clean Accessible Energy. Waste material may be regarded as ‘brown gold’. When poorly managed it has a negative impact on the immediate human settlements as well as the physical environment. On the other hand, when well managed and beneficiated, waste can yield a variety of positive impacts such as: biogas for cooking, heating and lighting; organic fertiliser from the bio-slurry which can be used for urban farming and cleaner urban spaces. Furthermore, these positive impacts can be harnessed on a small-scale basis (rural and urban spaces) or large scale such as commercial and industrial.
As populations increase, municipal solid waste (MSW) and liquid waste are unlikely to deplete particularly in developing regions. Sufficient energy can be generated although this is dependent on (1) the type of waste, which determines the type of technology to adopt and (2) the quantity of waste generated, which determines the final energy output. Energy and MSW policies in developed regions such as Europe and the United States of America have adopted an integrated urban waste management approach that considers various waste-to-energy technologies as a key consideration for handling waste while harnessing the energy. In Africa although there are a few WtE projects across the continent, there are very limited projects, policies, and regulations that addresses renewable energy and urban planning. Thus Madam Waste’s primary focus area is the African sub-region, due to its untapped energy potential as well as vibrant cities that require development solutions.
Vision and Mission
The company’s vision is to be an advocate for the adoption of waste-to-energy technologies in rapidly urbanising African cities.
Thus the mission is to:
- Assist in Realising Sustainable Development Goals 7 and 11
- Fully explore socio-economic and environmental opportunities available in the waste-to-energy value chain
- Design technologies and conduct studies that address knowledge gaps and advance the deployment of WtE technologies in the African context
Creating Energy From Waste
Madam Waste offers advisory, consulting and technical services primarily in the urban planning and renewable energy (management and conversion of solid waste to biogas or electricity), bio-remediation as well as energy efficiency. The services offered are custom-made to each client’s interest so as to avoid generic solutions for diverse contexts. A key niche is the company’s ability to integrate urban planning with waste management and renewable energy. Advisory and Technical services offered include but not limited to three interrelated spheres:
1. Urban Planning
- Assessment and Development of Urban Planning and Policies
- Impact Assessment of Urban-focused Programmes
- Physical Design of Urban Spaces
- Stakeholder and Community Engagement Processes
The diagram above (click to enlarge) illustrates an example of what smart cities entail. As the continent fully embraces a Digital Revolution (wireless systems that allow various components of a city to function virtually) the type of cities expected in the next 15 to 30 years needs to be smart in all regards. Smart data handling for government spheres such as local authorities, smart energy distribution through smart meters, integration of renewable energy into land use planning and mixed-use developments, are just a few examples.
2. Waste Management
- Assessment and Development of Waste Management and Policies
- Development and implementation of Sustainable Waste Management Practices
- Material Recycling Options and Value-Chain Optimisation
The diagram below is a generic approach adopted for managing waste in urban areas. The value chain differs in complexities and contexts due to varying socio-economic and environmental
3. Renewable Energy
- Feasibility and Viability Studies for Waste-to-Energy technologies
- Development of Waste-to-Energy plants
- Drafting and Review of Waste-to-Energy Policies and Strategies
- Integrated Plans for various Renewable Energy Sources
There are different types of waste-to-energy technologies, such as anaerobic digesters, gasification and pyrolysis. The technologies are adopted based on the objectives desired by the client but most importantly the quantity and type of waste available. Above (click to enlarge) is an example of the anaerobic waste-to-energy process which uses organic material as feedstock. This can be implemented on small, medium and large scales which cover the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.
Given the unique context in which each African city was designed during and post-colonial period, it is vital that each project is approached differently and in cognisance of these unique characteristics. Furthermore, each client and partner has various needs and demands. Thus Madam Waste typically uses the following high-level approach:
- Situational Analysis
- Tailored Solutions
Madam Waste targets a variety of role-players, namely: various levels of government (particularly local and provincial departments as well as parastatals); investors seeking opportunities in waste management, biogas and off-grid electricity generation; businesses seeking opportunities within the value chain as well as innovators keen to provide context-specific solutions in WtE technologies. Thus a tailored Private-Public-Partnership (PPP) model is developed for each project depending on its unique features.
Maximise Energy Creation While Reducing Waste
The diagram to the right (click to open) illustrates the company organogram. The team comprises of experienced and skilled personnel with a core set of complementary skills in the following disciplines: Urban Planning, Waste Management and planning, Microbiology; Bioenergy Engineering; Socio-Economic Development and Gender-focused Energy. These core skills set are inter-linked and complementary to ensure Madam Waste provides effective and efficient delivery of WtE solutions to its clients.
For more details on the services offered, please contact:
Tel: +27 76 574 0796
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