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Kenya Airways has taken ownership of a second next generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft in efforts to boost its fleet modernization plans. This adds to Kenya Airways’ 37 aircraft fleet that includes B787 Dreamliners, B777-300ERs and Embraer E190 jets.

The B737-800 is the first of Kenya Airways' such aircraft with Boeing Sky Interior. The Boeing 737-800 aircraft is the best-selling version of the successful Next-Generation 737 family. It is known for its reliability, fuel efficiency and economic performance.

In October 2014, the airline's received its first next generation B737-800 and sixth B787 Dreamliner at Kenya Airways' hub at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.

Kenya Airways expects three more B787 Dreamliner aircraft in 2015.

The construction of Lake Turkana Wind Project, LTWP is set to commence in 2015 when contractors move to the site next year. Work at the site will start once all the necessary roads and railway networks needed to facilitate movement are in place; turbines and other heavy networks equipment set in motion.

The actual movement of turbines will begin next year with the first electricity production in 2017. Preliminary activity will involve infrastructure development such as roads to enable contractors transport earth-moving equipment to the site.

The 300MW project is estimated to cost about KES 75 billion and is the largest single private power investment in Kenya. The project is expected to significantly contribute to Kenya’s power needs, create employment and spur economic activities.

The wind power generated is expected to be around 20% more of the current installed electricity generating capacity. The project will consist of 365 wind turbines each with a capacity of 850kW.


Read also OPIC

By Maddi Pariser

The Kiira EV-SMACK prototype vehicle

 

Uganda has gone down in automotive history as the first East African country to create a hybrid motor vehicle. The finalized hybrid prototype, known as the Kiira EV-SMACK, made its debut on November 13,2014 at the Sanakara Hotel and again on November 14, 2014 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre. Potential investors and car enthusiasts alike attended both events to learn about the automobile’s features and innovative design.

The Kiira EV-SMACK, incorporates both internal combustion engine propulsion systems with electronic propulsion, meaning the vehicle is able to run on fuel or electric energy. With limited electric charging infrastructure in Uganda, the Kiira Motors team implemented dual action technology that allows the energy from the fuel to run the car and charge it simultaneously. Similar to other hybrids, the idea is to run on battery in urban areas congested with traffic and to switch over to fuel on longer journeys requiring extra speed.

To further maximize efficiency, the breaking system converts heat released by the breaks into energy. The energy is used to charge the battery, creating an operating system that is entirely self-sustainable.

Overall, the main objective of the design is to create a better and more economical use of gas. In addition, Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC) developed the newest model of the hybrid in response to structural issues that were problematic in the first Kiira EV design.

The five-seater electric hybrid vehicle relies on two rechargeable battery banks, one is used to power the electronics and the other is designated to run the car. In order to offset the weight of the engine at the front, the engine’s battery bank is located at the back of the vehicle.  The car’s structural foundation is intended to support balance and ensure that all four wheels remain firmly on the ground.

Government seed money provided by the Ugandan Presidential Initiative for Science and Technology Innovations Programme has turned drawing board concepts into cutting edge realities. Production of KMC’s innovative automobile is set to occur on a 100-acre estate at Uganda Investment Authority,Jinja Industrial and Business Park. The facility contains state-of-the-art technology for engineering, production, corporate affairs and whole vehicle validation.

However, this starting platform will not be sufficient enough to see the entire project come to fruition. A KMC press release provided to Kenya Engineer by senior researcher, Prof. Paul Isaac Musasizi, revealed the need for outside investors if the Kiira EV-SMACK is to push through mass production.

“The seed funding from the government has enabled the project to take off,” the release states. “Interventions are in place to engage more development partners and investors for the timely realization of the project mission.”    

Mass production is scheduled to begin by 2018 and the estimated market value of the car is KES 2.7 million or $30,000.

Ironically, the launch of the hybrid comes just weeks after Kenya’s announcement of the cheapest new vehicle in the country. The Mobius II, produced by Mobius Motors based in Nairobi, is about one-third the cost of a new subcompact like a Toyota Corolla and about the same price as a 10-year-old Corolla.

For KES 950,000, buyers will receive an eight-seater vehicle powered by a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine with 86 horsepower and 94 pound-feet of torque. The zero-frills, no air conditioning SUV sports a tubular-frame with a top speed of about 120km per hour, a weight of 907g and a ground clearance of 23cm. 

The apparent differences between the two vehicles represent the growing demand for a developed automotive industry in East Africa. Various types of consumers are looking within their countries’ boarders for automobiles that will meet their specific needs and criteria.

“The development of the Uganda Automotive Industry is a timely development intervention and the government is applauded for the early-bird support and vision ownership.”

To fully achieve the aspirations outlined in the Vision 2030 blue print, Kenya will need to invest massively in the energy sector. The transformation of the country into a globally competitive, industrialized and a prosperous nation, it will require a number of energy generating initiatives that will meet the increasing demand for electricity.

The government has proposed a road map to raise the generation capacity by at least 5000MW from the current 1664MW to slightly over 6700MW by 2016, in order to provide affordable and competitive electrical energy to transform the economy. The government would want to improve energy security, mitigate global warming and reduce air pollution, a strong reason why renewable sources of energy should be at the forefront in the country’s energy plans.

Current power supply stands at 82% for hydropower, 8.7% for thermal, 8% for geothermal and 0.01% from wind. Though wind power has been under exploited, all is not lost as a handful of investors and government are chipping in to help drive adequate power supply to the residents. Despite its enormous potential, wind energy has rarely been tapped and many wonder why the government has not gone full-blast into it.

Presently, Kenya has Lake Turkana Wind Project LTWP (300MW), the largest wind power project in Sub-Saharan Africa and Kipeto Wind Project (20.6MW) as the major projects.However, a series of the same are about to spring in different parts of the country with Kinangop Wind Park Limited Power Project (60.8MW) in Nyandarua County being the latest firm.

In this age of advanced technology, wind energy can be used as a solution to non renewable energy sources.  As an intermittent energy source, wind power can be combined with a variety of other energy sources, such as solar and wave power, to ensure that supply meets hour-by-hour demand.

Wind power is proven to be cost effective technology, efficient and abundant source of domestic electricity and is expected to be the main way in which the energy sector responds to the government targets. As well as being good to the planet, it is also good for the economy as it reduces dependency on hydropower, improves balance of payments while increasing energy supply security.

With careful sitting and outreach to the local community, wind farms can be built in a fraction of time. A 50MW wind farm can be completed in less than a year. With the right location, it takes only 3-8 months for a wind energy farm to recoup the energy consumed by its building and installation. Decisions must always be made extremely carefully, with impacts mitigated and operations conducted in an environmentally responsible manner.

The firms create a steady income for investors and land owners, and provide manufacturing, construction and operational jobs. By generating additional local and state tax revenues from lease payments, wind farms also have the potential to support other community priorities such as education, infrastructure and economic development.

In addition, well-informed grid planning and highly interconnected transmission systems could help avoid disruptions. Implementing the necessary changes will require cooperation at multiple levels of government.

It doesn’t come easy too, as it has it challenges. Among these, wind developers and owners identified three main issues that create the greatest obstacles both presently and in the future. Each of these issues is significant on its own, and their combination creates a very difficult investment environment for new wind projects.

Difficulty in negotiating viable wind energy power purchase and off-taker agreements was identified by owners and developers as the biggest challenge facing the industry today. According to owners and developers, the current economy and abundance of cheap energy such as natural gas—has created an unfavorable pricing environment that makes the successful negotiation of purchase contracts difficult. Therefore, it is difficult to secure the long-term revenue streams needed to fund new investments.
Lack of strong Federal Renewable Energy Standards was also rated as a major issue facing the industry. Without strong Federal Standards, wind owners and developers have no clear assurance there will be a viable and growing market for wind energy in the future.

Undeveloped transmission infrastructure remains a significant industry challenge. Robust regional planning and effective transmission policies are urgently needed to address the significant transmission investments required to support new generation projects.

The overwhelming consensus of scientific opinion is that human activities particularly the emission of green house gases are the cause of depletion of the ozone layer. To tackle climate change, we need to move away from burning limited fossil fuel reserves to more sustainable and renewable source of energy. It’s time to embrace wind power.


By Mercy Nduati

With zeal, Peter Mbiria has been developing fascinating robots from age 7.

Peter Mbiria with semi-transforming vehicle and the wheel chair robot prototype during the interview

Coming from a humble background, Peter Mbiria dedicated his efforts to secure a place at an engineering school regardless of the disappointments of getting into university to pursue electrical engineering. Now, a final year student at Technical University undertaking electrical engineering course, he has gone against all odds to develop amazing robots that he hopes will help transform the engineering sector.

His passion, he recalls dates back to his childhood days, when his mother used to send him to the dairy farm to fetch milk which he say was a daunting task. At a tender age of 7 he made his first toy robot to help him carry milk from the dairy. In 2004 after completing his primary school education, he developed his first prototype vehicle to test his capabilities. From then on, his case has been of forward ever backward never as he has sprung out one innovations after another ever since.

‘I sourced out for the raw materials such as the gears and motors from electronic waste in Ngara. The wheels are however from a toy which i bought.’ he says when speaking of his current projects which consist of a semi-transforming vehicle, Music DNA and the wheel chair robots-projects which took him approximately six months to complete.

Looking on, I gain keen interest on how they operate. ‘The semi-transforming vehicle also referred to as ’linda nchi’ is a four wheel car and woks best on rough road terrain. It can be controlled manually by switching on the button at the side of the vehicle or electronically by connecting it to a power source. It has a remote control to steer the wheels,’ he says.

The music DNA system which had been remmiting colours at will during the interview is one of kind and easily attracts attention.”It has a designed circuitry which takes in music, subdivides it and gives out the output in varying levels of lighting. Also depending on the intensity of the music, it responds to any music bringing in different colour variations from light emitting diode (LED),” Peter explains of his innovation. “It is good for indoor or outdoor entertainment,’ he adds.

The two are not the only innovations in his latest efforts. In helping the physically challenged individuals, Peter came up with an improvised wheelchair to help with their free movement. ‘The wheel chair is a new development that I came up with as part of my final year project in college. No human assistance is needed since it has an automatic balance feature, it also has the ability to go up and down the stairs on whichever type of ground as the steering wheel is fully powered to help it move in front or backwards,’ he explain of his gadget. ‘The other characteristic is that it enables people with disabilities to stand up in whichever situation, for instance, cooking or even shopping,’ he says.

The robots can be used as tools for educating students on the basics of engineering in the mechanical or electrical departments. ‘Inadequate funds to source out for the raw materials and yet doing research in creating such inventions is expensive. For example, a microcontroller is an expensive and fragile tool and once broken the robots prototype can’t function. Also we need to have more mentors to guide us not only in theory practices but in practical applications too on how our skills can be utilised.’ he said.

With keen interest in reaching a wide range of people globally and accommodating the emerging industry , Peter says the  prototype wheelchair robot is a bit expensive but the semi-transforming vehicle and the music DNA  are quite  affordable to those with interest in transport and entertainment industry.

With massive industry growth and different technologies being developed daily, the young student has began patenting his inventions with the help of his institution, Technical University of Kenya (TUK) and Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI).  Apart from working on an advanced version of the econ-wheel chair that will be programmable, he is currently undertaking his attachment at the US giant tech company, IBM office in Nairobi.

Advice to the aspiring robot engineers: Chase your dreams despite the obstacles that might come in between the way.

Taipan has stated that its wholly-owned Kenya-based subsidiary, Lion Petroleum has received formal notice from the high court of Kenya of a temporary injunction preventing the company from working on the Badada-1 well site in Block 2B, north-east Kenya.

“Based on legal advice received the Block 2B partners are confident that the injunction will be revoked such that the company can progress to its projected spud of the Badada-1 well in early January 2015,” said Taipan.

Adjoined to Lion in the lawsuit as co-respondents are the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum, the Attorney General of Kenya, the Chairperson of the National Land Corporation and Premier Oil.

Taipan holds 30 per cent working interests and is the operator at Badada-1, with Tower Resources holding 15 per cent and Premier Oil holding 55 per cent.

Source: Oil & Gas Technology

By Brendon J. Cannon, Ph.D.

The Power System Interconnector Project between Ethiopia and Kenya aims to further integrate the electricity markets of the East African Power Pool (EAPP). It plans to do so by interconnecting the power systems of the two countries through the construction of high-voltage, direct current (HVDC) power lines and the transmission of hydroelectric power. The project aims to develop a more robust regional power market as the current transmission infrastructures between the two countries are insufficient for the transfer of power. It will also reduce the cost of electricity in Kenya and generate increased revenue for Ethiopia, as it will be able to export electricity to Kenya once the project is completed. 

The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) is testing the final unit of the 280MW Olkaria geothermal power project ahead of its unveiling in December, 2014. This injection intends to further reduce the cost of power among consumers and businesses.

The 70MW unit 5 already connected to the national grid will generate 52.5MW into the system as tests continue being carried out. This marks the final phase of the KES 115.4 billion Olkaria geothermal project. The project consists of 140MW Olkaria IV launched in October and Olkaria 1 units 4 and 5 each with a capacity of 70MW.

Geothermal power accounted for 42.7% of the 794.1 million units of electricity bought by homes and business in the month of October while hydro power accounted for 35.1%.

With the ongoing testing, KenGen’s steam power output stands at 4,668MW up from 158MW in December last year.

KenGen plans to double its power capacity by 3,000MW by 2018 from the current 1,335MW.

Mr. Alex Mbugua,Kenya Airways Group Finance Director(L) and Mr. Mbuvi Ngunze,Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and CEO during the media briefing

Kenya Airways has today released its first half year results ending September 30, 2014. The airline unveiled the results though the turbulent challenges it has experienced throughout the year.

For the period, the airline has recorded positive results as it has received five of its first set of six units of the B787 Dreamliner fleet, launched the Jambojet carrier and has expanded its route to Abuja, Nigeria.

Speaking at the unveiling, Group CEO and Managing Director, Mbuvi Ngunze said ‘Kenya Airways has been affected by a series of events such as JKIA fire, Ebola crises and issuance of travel advisories by various countries but it managed to achieve a turnover of KES 56,788 million indicating a 4.5% improvement compared to the previous year.’

‘The operating fleet costs rose to KES 42,171 million representing a 13% increase from last year due to added capacity growth of 15%. Its operating fleet loss stood at KES 5,047 million within the six month period compared to KES 1,739 million profits posted in the same period last year,’ stated Alex Mbugua, Group Finance Director.

Ngunze added that Kenya Airways will focus on balancing growth in the cabin factor so as to increase commercial flow of the airline. He is also eyeing on some prospective business factors such as deploying new fuel efficient fleet, opening of terminal 1A at JKIA, redesigning the hub of the airport and adding more lounges to offer superior customer service.

In February 2014, Kenya Airways suspended its routes from Amsterdam to China due to economic crises. Though in the past six ix months cargo tonnage rose by 8.4% following increased sales effort and introduction of freighter destinations within Africa.

Meanwhile, Kenya Airways is set to receive more Dreamliners next year and also introduce international flights to India.

African Development Bank (AfDB) has granted Tanzania Central Corridor with KES 239 million (USD 2.6 million to finance the project‘s design and feasibility studies. The rail-road network corridor runs from the Port of Dar es salaam to Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo.

The grant will be used to pay consultants undertaking feasibility studies, detailed engineering designs, environment and social impact assessment.

Tanzania plans to capitalise on a long coastline and upgrade existing railways and roads to serve growing economies in the land-locked heart of Africa from Uganda on its north border to Malawi in the south.

In addition, the country intends to expand its Central Railway line to a standard gauge running from Dar es Salaam to Isaka as part of its long term plan. 

  • Kenya Airways receives second Boeing 737-800...

  • Construction of Lake Turkana Wind Project set...

  • Uganda produces first hybrid automobile of East Africa

    Uganda produces first hybrid automobile of East...

  • We must fully embrace wind power to exploit...

  • Engineering student develops robots from waste materials

    Engineering student develops robots from waste...

  • Taipan receives court injunction to halt...

  • Integrating the electricity markets of the East African Power Pool

    Integrating the electricity markets of the East...

  • KenGen to launch final unit of 280MW in December

  • Kenya Airways records 13% rise in fleet costs

    Kenya Airways records 13% rise in fleet costs

  • Tanzania Central Corridor receives KES 239m for...

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Kenya’s plan to cut the cost of connecting new electricity consumers to an average of Sh30,000 moved closer to reality after the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved a $133 billion (Sh11.9 billion) loan for grid expansion. The loan, whose approval had delayed, will finance the Last Mile Connectivity Project (LMCP) that aims to bring power supply to remote areas and place the bulk of unconnected homes close to the grid.

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