Times of Malta, 18 May 2008 – With the ongoing awareness on collective responsibilities that contribute towards the avoidance of global warming, as well as the ever-increasing price of oil, Wasteserv Malta Ltd has stepped up its interest in the emission issue and is looking at Malta’s potential to becoming more energy-independent.

More specifically, Wasteserv is looking at carbon dioxide and methane discharges originating from landfill decomposition. Wasteserv’s long-term plan goes beyond the proper disposal of waste and includes resource recovery and the generation of energy from the landfills’ gaseous discharges.

Last year, Wasteserv celebrated the symbolic beginning of electricity generation from solid waste in Malta by lighting a large tree from landfill gas. The 15-metre tree decorated with 500 bulbs with a total power of 7.5kW, was installed at the top of the waste hill at the closed Magħtab landfill.

The tree was, in fact, powered by an electrical generator modified to run on gas generated from waste in the Ta’ Żwejra engineered landfill, which after closing down three years ago, has now generated enough to start producing electricity. The aim is to ultimately connect it to the national grid for the export of this power.

The amount of energy expected to be generated from the landfill facilities at the Magħtab Environment Complex is that equivalent to the electricity needs of 3,000 households, each having four members.

Wasteserv CEO Vince Magri said: “Recognising and recovering the potential value that is locked up in the waste we generate is crucial to achieving sustainability and lifting waste higher up the hierarchy.”

“Considering the variety of renewable energy potentially available at the Magħtab complex, we also intend to extend the use of a general administration building into a renewable energy centre, where we can demonstrate the benefits of various methods used to generate and convert this energy.”

The renewable energy generated from landfill gas may be compared to that being generated from a photovoltaic farm and wind turbine, designed to be included in the eventual rehabilitation of Magħtab when the park is developed. A small digester for farm waste generated by the farm adjacent to the landfill is also being considered.

Similarly, the recovery of energy from the thermal treatment facility in Marsa is also in the process of being developed. This will demonstrate and further encourage investment in this field.

Wasteserv is also installing renewable energy technologies, mainly photovoltaic systems and wind turbines, at the various waste management facilities with the aim of educating the public on green electricity while using part of the power for site operation. A 2.28kWp PV system has been installed at the Mrieħel civic amenity site together with a 1kW wind turbine, while a 4.19kWp PV system and a 2.5kW wind turbine were installed at the Ħal Far CA site.

Similar renewable energy systems will be installed at other CA sites shortly.

“In the same manner that Wasteserv has created a vision for waste management in Malta, we hope to do the same with renewable energy and assist Malta to become a leader in generating sustainable sources of power for the good of the country and its citizens,” said Mr Magri.