SOUTH AFRICA – ibert, a company which converts bio-waste into energy in South Africa, has a put forth a business proposition to South Africa’s abattoirs to set up biogas plants as a means of resolving animal waste disposal, reports Business Day.

Otto Hager, Chief Executive Officer and founder ibert, said that the through the investment, abattoirs will be able to utilise their animal waste to generate energy for running their operations.

“We take the waste from the abattoir, we convert that through anaerobic digestion, make gas, run an engine, make electricity, and give it back to the abattoir,” said Otto Hager.

According to Horst Unterlechner, ibert’s technical director, animal waste – blood and stomach contents and other organic contents – are sorted, cooked and shredded before being fed to the digester for controlled decomposition.

He explained that anaerobic digestion takes place in the digester leading to production of methane, a greenhouse gas, which is harvested and used to run an engine motor for generating electricity.

ibert says that the biogas plant has a potential to supply of 0.3MW  estimated to be around 25% of the abattoir’s 1.2MW power needs.

Since 2012, the firm has so far established seven biogas plants including one at Cavalier abattoir.

Harger says that the proposition will help abattoirs save on the deep cutting operation costs especially ahead of SA’s carbon tax implementation, which comes into effect in June whereby electricity users will be taxed 12c per kilowatt hour of power consumed.

In most cases, abattoirs are faced with the challenge of disposing unwanted remnants which is sometimes expensive dispose using waste disposal facilities or even burying it on private land is common practice.

However, in some instances disposal costs push the slaughter house operators to unscrupulously, improperly, and illegally dispose waste by dumping it into water bodies posing a health hazard due to its high biological oxygen demand (BOD).

This is despite legislations imposed to facilitate proper disposal of waste from abattoirs – which are at the forefront of the meat industry.

South Africa currently has more than 430 abattoirs slaughtering approximately 2.3 million cattle, 2.4 million pigs and 5.5 million sheep on an annual basis.

Approximately 40% of all slaughterings are performed by abattoirs that may slaughter an unlimited number of animals (Class A) and approximately 60% of cattle are slaughtered by highly regulated abattoirs (Class A & B).