This African city is turning a mountain of trash into energy

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A new energy plant in Addis Ababa could revolutionize Africa’s approach to waste. Africa is the world’s fastest-urbanizing continent.

While city life has helped lift millions out of poverty, the rapid transformation has created a new problem: mountains of urban waste . Now an Ethiopian entrepreneur is tackling the crisis with Africa’s first waste-to-energy plant , which reduces noxious and dangerous landfill while powering urban homes. Samuel Alemayehu, a Stanford engineer, former Silicon Valley entrepreneur and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader , says the plant will supply 30% of Addis Ababa’s household energy needs and incinerate roughly 80% of its rubbish. That’s 1,400 tons of waste every day. Alemayehu oversees the $120 million project as a co-founder of Cambridge Industries, which together with its Chinese JV partner CNEEC, has joined the Ethiopian government and a consortium of international companies to transform the city’s approach to waste. “We turn one of Africa’s most challenging social problems, the management of waste, into a source of new wealth”, Cambridge Industries says . Until now, Addis Ababa’s rubbish was dumped on a vast, ever-growing landfill site that covers an area the size of 36 football pitches. Leaking waste from […]

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