The Ghanaian electrical power grid is underdeveloped and inconsistent. Power outages are frequent throughout the country, and the delivery of power to regions outside urban areas is minimal to none. The nation must enhance its power generating capabilities and reduce dependency on hydro-electrical generation in order to increase its industrial capacity and improve the people’s standard of living.
In many places in Ghana, the availability of electricity is scattered and unreliable. The country is also currently experiencing challenges in controlling the garbage problem while dealing with the rampant unreliability of energy for businesses and homes.
Africa will be the platform for the next economic revolution where growth will be centered on energy and the environment. Until waste is properly handled in the African sub-Saharan continent, the effective realization of the potential could be seriously hampered.
Municipal solid waste management in Accra, Ghana, is at present delivered in an unsustainable manner. Due to uncontrolled urbanization, over 2,500 tons of waste is generated daily in Accra and its surrounding areas. This exerts further pressure on an over-strained solid waste management system. In the city of Accra alone, over 300,000 tons of solid waste is collected annually. This represents only 60 percent of the waste generated. Coupled with weak institutional capacity and lack of resources, both human and capital, the city authorities face difficulties in ensuring that all the waste generated in the city is collected for disposal.
Collection of residential waste is limited to high and some middle income areas while the poor are left to contend with the problem on their own. This leads to indiscriminate disposal of waste in surface drains, canals and streams, creating unsanitary and unsightly environments in many parts of the city and in the surrounding communities. The extent of this problem transcends the city of Accra to not only the entire country but also to all of West Africa, creating a major regional crisis.
Having overfilled local landfill capacities, open lands across Ghana are used as public lavatories and as solid and liquid waste dumps. An estimated 90 percent of these waste dumps are within residential areas, creating a major health burden on an already crippled health system.
The child mortality rate in Ghana is at tragic levels – according to UNICEF, tens of thousands of children under the age of 5 die annually as a result of preventable illnesses. The infant mortality rate remains significantly high. According to the World Health Organization, significant major contributions to child mortality stem from inadequate and uncontrolled waste disposal in and around urban areas.
In addition, the uncontrolled and extremely poor air quality contributes to ever-increasing respiratory illnesses in Ghana. It is estimated that one in three Ghanaians living in urban areas suffer from respiratory-related problems.
Our proposed approach to addressing Ghana’s waste management and environmental crisis can be summarized in our Environmental Waste Management & Energy Model. Waste collected and brought to the TAE facility will be processed through our four components.
TAE’s Environmental Waste Management & Energy Model provides a comprehensive and effective approach to the crisis. The model addresses Recycling of aluminum, glass, paper, plastic, and steel; Composting of unprocessed wood, grass, leaves, shrubs, manure and kitchen scraps; extraction of methane from current and future Landfills; and Gasification which will safely dispose of the remaining spectrum of municipal waste- from solid wastes to liquids, toxic substances, medical wastes, tires, industrial sludge, oils, paints, appliances, plastics and other substances.
Recycling: Recycling turns material that would otherwise become waste into valuable resources. Separating or extracting used glass, cans, and steel generates a host of financial, environmental, and social returns. TAE has identified a German firm for the waste separation equipment. We will engage in contractual agreements with manufacturing firms that specialize in waste separation equipment to design our recycling component. The equipment will use density separation (double-cyclone, altered-density cascade) and other techniques to segregate glass, cans, and steel from the waste.
Composting: Composting is the conversion of organic waste such as yard trimmings, food waste, and manure into fertilizers and soil enrichment products. It is estimated that most of Ghana’s waste stream constitute these organic materials. As an agricultural nation, Ghana stands to improve its agricultural exports and improve the economic bottom-line for local farmers through the use of fertilizers. The cost-prohibitive nature of residential food waste separation and collection is a primary concern due to traditional cultural practices. However, TAE proposes to engage with many communities, high-volume commercial and institutional food producers, such as restaurants, to recover their food byproducts, saving them significant disposal costs while providing a viable income source for TAE. In the U.S., a bulk retail yard waste compost sells between $15 and $32 per cubic yard.
Methane Extraction – Landfill: Landfills and indiscriminate disposal of waste in Ghana is common. A product of this is the continuous release of harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Methane, a greenhouse gas which is formed and released into the atmosphere from landfills, contributes significantly to global warming. It is 21 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide. TAE will extract this harmful greenhouse gas and convert it into useful green energy for local use.
Gasification: Gasification is a thermal decomposition of waste. This technology employs high temperatures between 1,200 and 3,000 °F in combination with little or no oxygen to decompose waste. Gasification is designed to achieve maximum and safe disposal of an entire spectrum of waste for subsequent use as fuel or recoverable energy generation, useful gases, liquids, and solid products.
The comprehensive process reuses every part of the garbage by turning them into useful products for human consumption- clean energy, raw materials for capital construction, economic opportunities, clean environment, and the protection of human health. This is done by converting in excess of 90 percent of all carbon-based materials into energy, and non-carbon based materials into vitrified glass.