City Waste unveils degassing plant


City Waste Management Company Limited has unveiled a degassing plant imported from Germany at a cost of about 200 million euros as part of efforts to help recycle old fridges turned in by Ghanaian consumers in the ongoing rebate and exchange scheme introduced by the Energy Commission.

The plant will be used to degas the fridges before they are finally dismantled in order to avoid the ozone-depleting gasses being emitted into the atmosphere.  The gasses collected will be sold on the international market through the carbon credit scheme.

"This plant not only degasses fridges and air conditioners; it also decontaminates the oils from the compressors, which contain about 30 percent gas.  This allows us to reuse or recycle these oils without any hazardous consequences," Managing Director of City Waste Jurgen Meinel said.

At the moment, the company receives fridges turned in from Accra and Tema only.  When the rebate scheme goes nationwide, more fridges will sent to City Waste for dismantling.

"We are planning that in the near-future, latest by 2014 all recycling activities will be relocated to our new site at Nsawam, which will be a recycling village," Mr. Meinel said.

Kofi Adu Agyarko, Deputy Director, at the Energy Commission, said about 1,200 old fridges have been turned in so far and that annual energy savings through the rebate scheme will be between 30 to 50 percent.

He stressed the Commission's commitment to ensuring that the scheme is spread to other parts of the country to help save energy.

The refrigerator rebate and exchange scheme, which began in September is been piloted in Accra and Tema and is estimated to cost GH¢500,000.  It is expected to run till the end of the year, after which it will be rolled-out nationwide.

For the next three years, the Commission hopes to replace some 50,000 high-energy consuming and environmentally destructive refrigerators out of an estimated 2 million said to be in use in Ghanaian homes.

A ban on the importation of second-hand fridges is currently in force to stop the influx.  Ridding the nation of inefficient refrigerators is expected to result in savings of about 216 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity, which is more than half of the electricity that will be produced by the Bui Dam.

The Energy Commission further estimates that aside from preventing the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the elimination of inefficient refrigerators will also save Ghana some US$72million per annum by 2020.

Residents of Accra and Tema, since the pilot started, have been turning in their refrigerators at Somovision and Beko sales outlets in exchange for new ones - the prices of which range between GH¢370 and GH¢1,000.

Depending on the size and the energy efficiency level of the new refrigerators, a discount of between GH¢150 and GH¢200 is applied on the purchase.  To aid people who cannot make up the difference, the Commission says it has an arrangment with Ecobank to provide such persons with credit facilities.

The new refrigerators are star-rated in terms of their energy efficiency level.  A five-star rated fridge is the most efficient.

According to the Commission, a highly-efficient refrigerator consumes the same energy as a 100-watt light bulb, and one can save up to GH¢200 on electricity per year using an energy efficient refrigerator.

Source: Business and Financial Times
Date: Wednesday, February 6, 2013.

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