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Covid-19 Stalls Bulawayo’s US$150 Million Solid Waste Project

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By Bulawayo Correspondent


THE Covid-19 pandemic has stalled work on Bulawayo’s US$150 million solid waste -to-energy project which is being developed by United Kingdom based Pragma Leaf Consulting Zimbabwe.

The government has already granted the project national status.

The project, which will, among other things, convert council waste to biodiesel, electricity and biogas, is expected to bridge the energy gap in the country while creating more than 2 000 new jobs.

In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, Pragma Leaf Consulting chairman Graciano Takawira said Covid-19 travel restrictions were making it impossible for the technical teams’ movement.

“Covid-19 has stalled work because our teams are unable to travel for due diligence.

“The original plan was to bring a team of engineers to complete that FEED study.

“A foundational aspect of the FEED would be the analysis of waste to update information we gathered from the 2012 study. This has been rendered impossible due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions,” said Takawira.

As a result of the Covid-19 travel embargoes, the company has been forced to engage the National University for Science and Technology (NUST)’s Chemical Engineering Department to carry out the waste characterisation study which involves waste streams deposited at council’s Richmond Sanitary Lane.

The study was completed on the 22nd of October last year.

Takawira also revealed that the company has roped in France and Netherlands based companies to boost the project financially as well as technically.

“We have also signed with Netherlands based Geo Power Ltd for a US$50 million investment in the project,” said the chairman.

The company was targeting the first quarter of this year to complete the mobilisation of the project’s financial modalities.

It is anticipated that when fully functional, the project will process 325 tonnes of waste per day and generate 78 000 to 110 000 litres of biodiesel per day, 6 00 cubic metres of biogas as well as 11, 35 Megawatts (MW) of electricity.

The project has also a capacity to produce organic compost from 20 percent organic waste generated.