Waste management specialist, Interwaste, has launched South Africa’s first refuse derived fuel (RDF) plant at its Germiston depot. MechTech attends the launch and reports.

Interwaste – a leading local waste management business – has announced the launch of South Africa’s very first refuse derived fuel (RDF) plant. The plant aims at reducing waste to landfill and pioneering general, industrial and municipal waste to alternative fuels, ensuring less reliance on South Africa’s vital resources – resources that are carbon intensive. The company expects to see 36 t/a of waste converted to alternative fuel for use in the South African manufacturing sector.

Interwaste RDF refuse derived fuel Mike Nichols bailling“In line with global best practice, Interwaste continually invests in innovative solutions that have the most environmentally sound waste management opportunity at its core, solutions that make us market leaders and place us in a favourable position within the competitive waste management environment,” says Allan Willcocks, CEO at Interwaste. “It is with this in mind, and with a strong focus on aiding our customers to reduce operational expenses, while acting responsibly towards the environment, that we commissioned the RDF plant, which is another market first since the business opened 25 years ago.”

The plant, which was imported in 2015, is located in a facility built by Interwaste at the company’s Germiston depot. It is currently producing a solid recovered fuel to European specified standards, which is equivalent to A Grade coal.

“Through the commissioning of such solutions, companies are able to lessen their reliance on fossil fuels, which have a high environmental impact including: acid mine drainage and reject coal waste and dust, for example. By using RDF, not only are businesses able to drastically improve their emissions profile but they able to pay back their investment within five years, because  the fuel is substantially more economical,” continues Willcocks.

Prior to the implementation of the local plant, Interwaste underwent stringent environmental compliance procedures to ensure all due process was followed and that the facility would operate with a valid licence and the correct environmental authority approvals – which are critical in ensuring sound business practices.

The company has also pioneered the production of alternative fuels within the hazardous waste environment, ensuring that hazardous waste can be diverted from landfill, where such waste is not only expensive to landfill but toxic to the environment if not managed correctly.

“Locally, the playing fields have changed. The implementation of new and pending legislation is forcing companies to move to 21st century solutions, solutions that offer real opportunity for environmental preservation. From an Interwaste perspective, the provision of these fuels has not only opened up in excess of 100 jobs within the sector, but has created a very solid platform from which to protect the environment at large. This is a critical constitutional imperative in line with changing legislation,” states Willcocks.

“However, we are not in this alone, it is up to corporate South Africa to understand the benefits of such solutions to their bottom line, and the environment, in order for us to make the change we want to see. We are positive about the impact of such market innovation and look forward to very exciting times with regards to RDF,” concludes Willcocks.

Interwaste is a leading environmental solutions management company in South Africa and the SADC region, offering holistic environmental solutions ranging from legal compliance, technical services, on-site management services, resource recovery, solid and liquid waste treatment, waste commodity trading, waste logistics, waste disposal and facilities management.

Presenting the technology at a launch event earlier this year, Mike Nicholls, Interwaste’s technical services director, says that prior to establishing local system, best practices in Europe were visited and evaluated.

RDF, according to Nicholls, is dry industrial waste, which Interwaste sources locally by onsite sorting of suitable waste from targeted industries, such as furniture manufacturers and generators of non-recyclable plastic waste. Possible uses for the fuel include power stations, the cement industry, gasification/pyrolysis plants and dedicated RDF combustion facilities. “RDF is particularly well suited to the cement industry, since particulate emissions from the fuel tends to be encapsulated in the end product during the calcining process,” says Nicholls. Calcining is the decomposition of calcium carbonate (limestone) in a rotating kiln to form calcium oxide (lime) during the cement making process.

Properties of the RDF fuel produced by Interwaste include: very high temperature flame (2 000 °C); low residence time (below 5.0 seconds); inherent gas cleaning, particularly in the case of cement kilns; and almost no ash production.

Two forms of RDF fuel can be produced. From wood-based waste, extruded logs and pellets are produced for use as solid fuel. From plastic waste, however, a fuel called 'fluff' is produced by shredding and baling the pre-sorted plastic waste.

Nicholls says that Interwaste can now offer a solid waste RDF with high calorific value, diverting industrial waste to save landfill space. “We are now able to recover the energy value in waste that would otherwise be wasted, for use as a substitute fuel for valuable fossil-based resources and reducing net greenhouse gas emissions,” he says.

The energy generated from RDF is considered to be green energy and could therefore  be eligible for carbon credits and exempted from the Carbon Tax. “Its use is in line with the Department of Environmental Affairs’ waste recovery objectives and qualifies as a contributor to the green economy.

“Available as a dense solid fuel or as ‘fluff’ for direct injection into burners, RDF offers a high degree of flexibility with respect to calorific value; the potential for zero waste to landfill; a significantly lower ash content than conventional fuels such as coal; along with reduced particulate emissions,” he concludes.


Latest News

CESA Aon Awards winners

Published: 16 August 2018

In a night lit with glitz and glamour, the who’s who of the Built Environment, hosted by Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) and sponsored by Aon South Africa, celebrated excellence...

Read more

Guaranteed safety with Vital walkways

Published: 19 August 2018

To keep mines operating efficiently, quick and safe access to areas such as minerals processing plants is essential. Vital Engineering provides walkway systems that offer greatly improved levels of safety...

Read more

Funding for commercial real estate in Francophone Africa on the rise

Published: 18 August 2018

According to the Chairman of West African bank BHCI, JD Diabira, and the region's first specialist commercial real estate mortgage provider and local real estate advisor, Ivan Cornet of Latitude...

Read more

Forensic investigation into irregular Tshwane engineering consulting contract

Published: 17 August 2018

Following the Sunday Times’ report that the City of Tshwane handed over infrastructure projects worth R12 billion to an engineering consultancy to manage, mayor Solly Msimanga has said the city...

Read more

Engie signs solar project in Gabon

Published: 16 August 2018

Renewables specialist Engie has signed an agreement with CDC, the Gabonese financial institution Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, to deploy eight hybrid solar power plants in Gabon. The plants will...

Read more

Bigen Group appoints new executive for investments and concessions

Published: 16 August 2018

Dr McLean Sibanda, has joined the Bigen Group as Executive: Investments and Concessions at its head office located at The Innovation Hub precinct in Pretoria. The Bigen Group is a multinational infrastructure developer with presence across Africa.

Read more

Local Southern African Manufacturing Expo launched

Published: 15 August 2018

Specialised Exhibitions Montgomery, in association with the South African Capital Equipment Export Council (SACEEC), is launching the Local Southern African Manufacturing Expo (LME). Endorsed by the Premier of Gauteng, David...

Read more

Second annual Solar Incubator programme announced

Published: 15 August 2018

Dubai-based solar provider Phanes Group has announced the second annual Solar Incubator programme. Aimed at identifying PV projects that have potential in sub-Saharan Africa, the Solar Incubator programme provides support...

Read more

Government deploys engineers to assist dysfunctional municipalities

Published: 14 August 2018

According to a report by Auditor General Kimi Makwetu, only 7% of the country’s municipalities are classified as well-functioning, with 31% being reasonably functional, 31% almost dysfunctional, and the remaining...

Read more

SA leads the world in economic crime

Published: 14 August 2018

Consulting firm PwC has released its annual Global Economic Crime Survey, which finds that South African organisations have the highest instances of economic crime in the world. The research mentions...

Read more

SA businesses should think continentally

Published: 13 August 2018

According to Mergence Investment Managers, an independent specialist boutique asset management company based in South Africa, the signing in July of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement with the...

Read more

Aviation school launched in Gauteng

Published: 12 August 2018

The Gauteng Provincial government has launched the 29th school of specialisation in the province. An initiative that was started in 2016, schools of specialisation are part of the Department of Education’s...

Read more

Load shedding risk remains high

Published: 11 August 2018

Eskom has warned that the risk of load-shedding remains high as the utility continues to struggle to resume normal operations following the recent industrial action against it. In a statement...

Read more

Electra Mining 2018’s packed agenda

Published: 10 August 2018

This year’s Electra Mining Africa will see daily free-to-attend seminars as well as a number of conferences running alongside the show. Taking place from 10-14 September at the Expo Centre in Nasrec, Johannesburg, visitors to...

Read more

Partnership launched to improve access to clean water and lighting in Tanzania

Published: 10 August 2018

Innovation: Africa (iA), a US-based non-profit organisation, and Bayport Management Ltd, a multinational financial services provider with a strong presence in Tanzania, have announced a partnership to help communities across...

Read more

Wikus launches new band saw blades

Published: 09 August 2018

In industry, much fabrication uses steel with cross-sections or profiles of less than 50mm. To cater for this application, international band saw blade manufacturer Wikus has introduced the Vario M42...

Read more

Cortec releases environmentally-friendly drilling rod grease

Published: 08 August 2018

Cortec has released an eco-friendly alternative to traditional aluminum-thickened greases. Called EcoLine Drilling Rod Grease, this biobased and biodegradable lubricant for drilling rod applications contains extreme pressure additives for protection...

Read more

Cape Town is Africa’s technology capital

Published: 07 August 2018

Global research firm Endeavor Insight has named Cape Town the technology capital of Africa. Endeavor Insight recently released Evaluation and Network Analysis of the Cape Town-Stellenbosch Tech Sector, the results...

Read more

USAID project to address water shortages in Southern Africa

Published: 06 August 2018

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced the Resilient Waters project. Taking place over five years, the $32.4 million project aims to address severe water challenges facing...

Read more

Uganda de-risks renewables

Published: 05 August 2018

Uganda has become the first African country to de-risk small and medium scale renewables by signing an agreement with the Regional Liquidity Support Facility (RLSF). RLSF is a joint initiative...

Read more

New appointments at Fiat Chrysler SA

Published: 04 August 2018

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) South Africa has announced two new appointments. Juan Wheeler has been appointed CFO, while Daniell Theron has been appointed head of network development.

Read more

Gold project sees joint investment from BRICS states

Published: 03 August 2018

The recent BRICS summit saw the announcement of the first ever industrial public-private partnership investment project to be undertaken by partners from all BRICS member states. The project, a gold...

Read more

Fluor awarded Sasol Secunda improvement projects

Published: 02 August 2018

Global engineering, procurement, fabrication, construction and maintenance company Fluor Corporation has been awarded the front-end loading engineering (FEL) for the Secunda Clean Fuels Baseline Improvement Basket of Projects by Sasol South Africa. Fluor’s engineering team, based in Secunda and Woodmead, is due to complete the work by July 2019.

Read more

Emira Property Fund first African company with approved greenhouse gas emissions target

Published: 01 August 2018

Emira Property Fund has become the first company in the country, and on the continent, to have a greenhouse gas emissions target approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The target sets...

Read more

China invests billions in SA, helps to bail out Eskom

Published: 31 July 2018

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s drive to gain foreign investment in South Africa has seen China announce a $14.7-billion investment as well as grant loans to Eskom. The investment pledge and loans...

Read more

Sappi to invest billions in KZN

Published: 31 July 2018

Paper and packaging producer Sappi has announced close to R8-billion in planned investments in KwaZulu-Natal, focused around upgrades at the Saiccor mill in Umkomaas‚ south of Durban. These will include...

Read more

SMEC SA appointed for Ethiopian project

Published: 30 July 2018

Consulting engineering firm SMEC South Africa has been appointed by Ethiopian Petroleum Supply Enterprise to develop a white oil products storage terminal at Port Dukem, in Ethiopia. The new development will be the...

Read more

Verder appoints The Pump Smith as sole distributor in KZN

Published: 30 July 2018

Industrial pump specialist Verder has signed an exclusive distribution partnership with The Pump Smith, as part of the company’s long-term strategy to expand its footprint within the greater Kwa-Zulu Natal...

Read more

New brazing solution launched

Published: 29 July 2018

Specialist chemicals supplier A-Gas South Africa has launched its new Braze-A-Gas products. These products have been developed specifically for brazing copper tubes, as well as for welding and cutting.

Read more

Globeleq to buy six local renewable plants

Published: 28 July 2018

Independent power producer Globeleq has announced that it will acquire the majority shareholding in six of South Africa’s renewable energy projects. The acquisition will add 178MW to Globeleq’s existing 238MW...

Read more


African Fusion

AfricanFusionAfrican Fusion, the official publication of the Southern African Institute of Welding (SAIW), aims to provide up-to-date insight into welding technology and the welding industry.

Capital Equipment News

Capital Equipment News is dedicated to the application of equipment and modes of transport that are used in the mining, construction, quarrying, and transport industries.

Construction World

ConstructionWorldConstruction World was first published in 1982 and has grown to become a leader in its field, offering a unique mix of editorial coverage to satisfy the diverse needs of its readers.

Electricity + Control

ElectricityandControlE + C publishes innovative, technical articles that provide solutions to engineering challenges in measurement, automation, control, and energy management.

Lighting in Design

LightingandDesignLighting in Design is a glossy, upmarket publication aimed at lighting professionals. It is the only B2B magazine in SA that is dedicated solely to the subject of lighting.

MechChem Africa

MechChemJanuary2017cover MechChem Africa supports African engineering and technical managers across the full spectrum of chemical and mechanical disciplines.

Modern Mining

ModernMiningEstablished in 2005, Modern Mining is one of SA's leading monthly mining magazines, noted for the quality and accuracy of its writing and the breadth of its coverage.

Modern Quarrying

ModernQuarryingModern Quarrying is firmly entrenched as a leading industry-specific magazine. It focuses on promoting the science and practice of quarrying and processing in southern Africa.

Sparks Electrical News

SparksElectricalNewsReadable and informative, Sparks Electrical News is the newspaper for those involved in installing and maintaining electrical supplies and equipment.

Contact Crown

Web Manager: Karen Smith
Email: admin(@)crown.co.za

Phone: +27 11 622 4770
Fax: +27 11 615 6108

Crown House
2 Theunis Street
Cnr Sovereign Street
Bedford Gardens
Bedfordview 2007
P.O. Box 140
Bedfordview 2008

linkedin facebook twitter google plus youtube tv rss

sign up newsletter

Full Name*
Invalid Input

Company Name*
Invalid Input

Your Email*
Invalid Input

Invalid Input

Postal Address 1*
Invalid Input

Postal Address 2*
Invalid Input

Postal Code*
Invalid Input

Street Address 1
Invalid Input

Street Address 2
Invalid Input

Postal Code
Invalid Input

Town / City*
Invalid Input

Invalid Input


Invalid Input

Invalid Input