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Canaries make positive noise for biogas

28 April 2006 – The governing body of the Spanish Canary Islands has welcomed the start of a new Cummins combined heat and power system that will be powered by solid waste.

A destination for millions of travellers each year, the disposal of waste has become an environmental and political issue for the collection of islands.

Supplied by Cummins, the new Salto del Negro municipal waste treatment plant in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria will process garbage and sewage collected from the town as well as several surrounding towns and villages.

Jose Melgarejo, business development manager for Cummins Power Generation, said: “Most visitors aren’t even aware there is a waste treatment plant here, which is exactly what we wanted to accomplish.”

The waste is processed in a digester that produces methane gas. The gas is used in turn to fuel generators that produce both electricity and heat.

“The facility has a processing capacity of 200 000 tonnes of waste a year. The capacity of the biogas digester is about 75 000 tonnes of waste a year,” said Melgarejo.

The exhaust heat from the engines is used by the treatment plant to accelerate the anaerobic processes in the digesters, while electricity not used in the plant is sold to the local utility.