Incatema starts up the cogeneration system of the WWTP of Cambérène (Senegal) for self-consumption

4 March, 2024

The World Sustainable Engineering Day is celebrated on 4 March. The event was established during the 40th session of the UNESCO’s General Conference in 2019 to raise awareness of the role of engineering in modern life. It is essential to mitigate the effects of climate change and advance sustainable development, especially in Africa and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). To this end, Incatema has started up the cogeneration system of the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) it has built in Cambérène, a town north of Dakar, the Senegalese capital.

The cogeneration tests, which have just been carried out and lasted two weeks, constitute the last phase of the plant's general commissioning process, in which all the elements of the installation are tested to verify their correct operation before the final delivery of the work to the client, the National Sanitation Office of Senegal (ONAS). Tests have been carried out on the WWTP self-consumption of energy by cogeneration, with fully satisfactory results.

For the design of the extension and improvement of the Cambérène WWTP, Incatema took into account the use of self-sufficient systems, such as cogeneration, to make the facility self-sufficient, thus gaining in efficiency and sustainability. As Mr Fernando Díaz, Incatema's Director of Infrastructures, points out, "the WWTP we have built in Cambérène, which is now in its final testing phase, is a clear example of sustainable engineering since it consumes energy from its surpluses without having to buy it from the electricity grid. This significant energy saving not only benefits economically the entity that will operate the WWTP, but it is a profit that redounds to the benefit of all citizens since it reduces the dependence on conventional energy sources, such as coal or natural gas, taking advantage of a renewable resource such as biogas".

Example of a circular economy: from waste to resource

In the cogeneration system, gas, which functions as a fuel, is introduced to perform a combustion reaction in which a large amount of the thermal energy is released and transformed into mechanical and electrical energy. Thanks to this cogeneration process, the Cambérène WWTP uses the thermal energy produced, in addition to its own electricity consumption, to maintain the temperature of the anaerobic digester and to heat the sludge before the dewatering process. In the event that more energy is produced than necessary, the surplus can be sold to the electricity grid.

Therefore, instead of simply releasing the biogas into the atmosphere, the WWTP uses it to generate electricity and heat through the cogeneration system, so that the waste ends up being valorised and transformed into a resource.

Improved sanitation for more than 1.5 million inhabitants

The Cambérène WWTP, once operational, will improve the quality of life of more than 1.6 million inhabitants. It has an average treatment capacity of 92,000 cubic metres per day, and can handle peaks of up to 101,000 cubic metres per day.

This action is part of the turnkey project that Incatema has carried out for the National Sanitation Office of Senegal (ONAS), with a budget of 32 million euros financed by the Islamic Development Bank. The WWTP, together with the submarine outfall that Incatema has just delivered to the client, will give new impetus to the Senegalese government's Environmental Plan, which aims to reduce pollution in the north of Dakar and improve the health of the population.