Sustainable utilization of energy from waste: A review of potentials and challenges of Waste-to-energy in South Africa

Oluwatobi Adeleke, Stephen A. Akinlabi, Tien Chien Jen, Israel Dunmade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


In South Africa, the burden placed on energy due to the rise in its demand coupled with the huge amount of untreated waste that ends up in landfills has called for the quest for sustainable energy utilization from waste resources. The literature has revealed a huge amount of theoretical energy potential recoverable from waste generated in Africa. However, many African countries are not yet exploiting the full potential energy inherent in waste to solve their energy and waste management crisis. To achieve success in WTE Industry, it is important to assess the peculiar local factors which impede its growth. The study evaluated the energy potential from waste in Africa with emphasis on South Africa’s case and the existing and proposed waste-to-energy (WTE) projects in South Africa. It was revealed that South Africa has the highest theoretical potential of energy from waste in Africa based on the quantity of generated and collected waste. About 104463 TJ/year and 22710 TJ/year can be recovered from incineration and landfill gas, respectively, in South Africa. Some of the barriers to full-operative WTE processing in South Africa were identified and discussed. Major resource-related barriers which are peculiar to South Africa’s waste management and energy system are the cheap and affordable coal resources and the low landfill tax. Recommendations for the future directions of WTE and sustainable energy recovery from waste in South Africa were made.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1550-1564
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Green Energy
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • South Africa
  • Waste-to-energy
  • anaerobic digestion
  • circular economy
  • landfill gas
  • sustainable development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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