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Container traffic through Kenya's biggest port grew by 12.8 percent in the first six months of the year after new cargo handling infrastructure was built to shorten the turnaround time for ships.

The Indian Ocean port of Mombasa, the biggest in east Africa and the region's trade gateway, handles fuel and consumer goods imports as well as exports of tea and coffee from landlocked neighbours such as Uganda and South Sudan.

Gichiri Ndua, the port's managing director, said in a statement on Wednesday the total cargo at the port rose by 12.8 percent to 11.9 million tonnes from 10.5 million tonnes in the January to June last year.

Container traffic increased by 11.5 percent to 463,920 TEUs (Twenty foot equivalent units) this year from 415,948 TEUs.

The port is seen as a measure for economic activity in east Africa as it handles imports for Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia, and exports of tea and coffee from the region.

The volume of goods destined for neighbouring countries also increased, rising by 9.6 percent to 3.53 million tonnes after the opening of a new berth at the port in August last year, with Uganda and Rwanda bringing in more imports.

Kenya is building a $300 million second container terminal at Mombasa to handle increased trade within the region, driven by a sharp growth in construction, vast infrastructure development and an emerging middle class.

The east African nation also plans a second port in Lamu, north of Mombasa, with a capacity of 23 million tonnes per year.

Source: Reuters

 

 

 

Savannah Cement develops a special product to support ongoing roads infrastructure development. The new HRB product is cheaper than cement and may afford road contractors up to 30% cost savings

Cement manufacturing firm, Savannah Cement, has announced the successful development of a specially formulated road construction special product to support ongoing roads infrastructure development at the county and national level.

The cement blend product, technically known as a Hydraulic Road Binder (HRB), is used in road construction works to stabilize road surfaces and has been developed in response to a request by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure. The development of the new HRB Product is a major milestone for Savannah Cement which becomes the first Sub Sahara Africa Cement manufacturer to manufacture such a specialist product.

As part of the product development process, Savannah Cement has also formally received the Quality Certification for the new product by Kenya Bureau of Standards in conformity with the existing European standards.

Speaking when he received the product certification mark from the Kenya Bureau of Standards Managing Director, Mr. Charles Ongwae, this morning, Savannah Cement, Managing Director, Mr. Ronald Ndegwa, said the new Savannah Cement HRB product which will retail at a lower rate than conventional cement, is expected to contribute up to 30% approximate cost savings on the Kshs 25billion national road construction budget.

Globally, HRB products are used in place of mainstream cement and lime products for soil stabilization on loose road surfaces. [Soil stabilization, is a process that combines soil, cement and water to produce a hard, durable paving material that can be used for the foundation or base of road and airport pavements, parking and storage areas.]

"This certification has been done to meet the European Standards as we work on getting a Kenyan Standard. This mark will go a long way in helping Savannah Market HRB in Kenya and other regions as well, thus helping us to fulfill our key objective as KeBS of facilitating trade within and out of the country". Said Mr. Ongwae.

Ahead of the product release to the market, Ndegwa, disclosed that the Savannah HRB product is now undergoing intensive application and related tests using local road building materials.

The ongoing testing process, by the Chief Materials Engineer, at the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, Ndegwa explained is part of a rapid response project by Savannah Cement; following a recent request by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure to local cement manufacturing firms. The request earlier placed by the ministry through the Kenya Rural Roads Authority, had tasked local manufacturers to consider developing a cost effective cement for soil stabilization.

"The Savannah Cement, product development team has made a major breakthrough on this project geared at drastically reducing infrastructure development costs," Ndegwa said.

"In conjunction with the respective roads development agencies including KENHA, KERRA and KURA, we are now getting into the application testing stage having concluded on the quality certification process by the Kenya Bureau of Standards," he added.

The development of the Savannah HRB product is part of a commitment by the firm which is Kenya's latest cement manufacturing firm to provide a range of diversified products to spur public and private sector construction needs.

Savannah Cement recently expressed a commitment to produce market driven products in a collaborative partnership with local building and construction professionals'.

The commitment which is in line with global trends will soon see the firm producing various specialist products to meet the market demands for Building & Construction engineers, architects and quantity surveyors undertaking specific projects.

"At Savannah Cement, we are committed to partnering with all players in the building sector to provide solutions in the construction industry," Ndegwa assured. Adding that "in this process, we are willing to involve you in our product development processes; to ensure we deliver market driven products."

To grow its local and regional market share Savannah Cement has already lined up development projects valued at more than US$300Million which include an investment plan to establish a clinker manufacturing facility and commission the second grinding plant at its production complex, near Kitengela township.
Already, Savannah Cement has invested more than US$100million to develop one of the most advanced and Eco-friendly cement manufacturing plants in sub-Sahara Africa with a 1.5million tons annual production capacity.

The Savannah Cement boss explained that the firm's manufactured cement types (Savannah 32.5R and Savannah 42.5R) are uniquely formulated to meet all building needs. Carrying the 'R' quality classification, Savannah Cement products are specially formulated to provide rapid strength development which ensures improved customer profitability through enhanced productivity and construction efficiency.

Savannah Cement, products also provide enhanced strength at all ages assuring superior concrete performance as well as unmatched durability with great aesthetics.

Ends

Australian Swala Energy and British Tullow Oil will commence oil exploration in Kisumu from next year after Abu Dhabi withdrew from the exercise.
As reported by a local daily, Abu Dhabi, a joint venture partner with Compaňĩa Espaňola de Petrŏleos S.A.U (CEPSA) needed more time to review the survey data on the drilling process.

It added that it is not clear on the time period CEPSA needed to interpret the data but the other partners had assurance in the existing data interpretation.

This comes after Swala Energy announced its joint venture, CEPSA in June agreed to pay Sh 660 million should it take part in the drilling process. Also it was to add up another Sh 660million to assist in drilling the second well.

Compaňĩa Espaňola de Petrŏleos S.A.U (CEPSA) is based in Spain.

                     
Today marked the official opening of the Road Infrastructure Development Stakeholders Conference by the president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta. The forum organized by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure is happening at the KICC (Kenyatta International Conference Centre).

During the opening, the President noted that the country’s infrastructure development has not kept pace with the development aspirations and as an impact of this, underdevelopment has been felt throughout the country.

The country has since independence paved only 14,000KM of road, less than 9 per cent of the total road network. However, the government seeks to have an extra 10,000km paved in 5 years.

Among the listed setbacks for road development as pointed by the president are contractor’s low capacity to undertake large scale projects; inadequate funding and weak contractual arrangements.

“Indolence, corruption and outmoded development models have held back our country’s potential by at least decades.”, noted the President.

To aid in financing road construction projects, the Annuity Financing Framework will be used. Under the Annuity Programme, 2,000km of small roads will be completed within the 2014/2015 FY. This will be followed by 3,000KM in the next FY made up of 80 per cent small roads and 20 per cent highways.

“Expect therefore to see intensive road construction going on at a place near you.”, said the President.
He has urged stakeholders to take maximum advantage of the numerous profitable opportunities under the Annuity Programme.

More roads will promote national integration and improve security due to connectivity of our regions and communities. Poor access to basic social services has led to failures in educating, securing or keeping our communities healthy.

 

 

 

As Kenya continues to experience mass building construction, malls are a leader in this. So far the country‘s capital, Nairobi is home to more than 10 malls with others still upcoming. Adoption of new building technology is being seen the construction of these malls, the latest being Garden City along the Thika-Nairobi superhighway.

Garden City, the new 32-acre mixed-use development has confirmed the installation of Africa’s largest solar panel covered car park canopy on the roof of the Garden City Mall.

The panels are expected to produce approximately 1,246,000 kWh per year. Reducing CO2 emissions by an estimated 492 tonnes per year and drastically reducing the service charge and occupancy costs for Garden City retail tenants.

Garden City is being developed by private equity real estate investor, Actis using a ‘green-by-design’ approach. Koome Gikunda, Investment Principal at Actis said, “We were looking for a turn-key solution that could produce clean power and pay for itself with the energy it produces. This solution not only takes advantage of Kenya’s exceptional solar resources but also provides additional covered parking to customers of the Garden City Mall.”

The planned 858.3 kWp solar PV car port installation will be developed under NVI Energy’s Solar4Africa plan, as part of their Pay-By-Solar scheme. They will provide guarantees covering power and equipment performance and, together with their technical partners, will install, operate and maintain the system for 12 years.

Designed to work with the power grid, the PV system will automatically switch over to provide power together with back-up generators during times when the grid is unavailable, reducing diesel use and saving money. The installation of the PV panels will help Garden City achieve its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

 

 

 

Kenya Power distribution supply

With power rationing and high cost electricity bills surrounding Kenyans, there seems to be a new plan to curb power shortages and interruptions. Ministry of Energy and Petroleum and African Development Bank (ADB) is negotiating Sh 60billion loan to boost electricity access from the current 32% to 70%.

According to a statement released by Cabinet Secretary Energy and Petroleum, Davis Chirchir said “the negotiations are at an advanced stage and will see the agreement completed by December this year to pave way for the first loan disbursement of Ksh 12 billion of this financial year.

This money will be used to take electricity closer to potential users thus increasing the number of customers from the existing 2.8 million to about 8million in five years to come.


                                  
Geologists have found something that could change the engineer’s approach in developing solar panels. While solar panels have often been made of silicon photovoltaic cells, this is likely to change to Perovskite rock. Perovskite rock is in the family of naturally-occurring crystalline minerals.

Perovskite-based cells are not only easy to manufacture at low expenses but are with a power conversion efficiency of 19.3%.

These solar cells are usually built using processed ‘organo-metal halide’ perovskite, that are first crystallized and then attached to a top electrode. Production involves simple and cost-efficient printing of the solar cells, which makes perovskite a much cheaper alternative to the traditional photovoltaic cells in the market.

Altering the component elements of the ABX3 (Perovskite’s chemical formula) structure can lead to changes in chemical properties, an added advantage that opens up doors to a number of fascinating possibilities. For instance, the perovskite crystal can be made partially transparent enough to be used as solar powered window panes.

Scientists believe that with further improvements in technology, the power conversion efficiency of perovskite will soon surpass the 20.8% of CIGS and 25% of the commercially available crystalline silicon solar cells.

To curd the toxic effects of lead -a metal that occurs in most minerals- tin-based (lead-free) perovskite solar cell versions have successfully been developed.This could be the future of solar energy.

Extracts from Hexapolis

 

 

 

China is set to reveal Gaofen-2, a high-definition Earth observation satellite to space this year. This is in regard to the state of Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND).

The satellite will assist in giving geographic and resource surveys, environment and climate change monitoring, precision agriculture, disaster relief and city planning.

As reported by a local daily “Gaofen-2 is equipped with better technology and has the ability to see a one-meter-long object in full colour to enhance development of China’s remote sensing industry.

Gaofen -1 released in April 2013 ,provides data on Lushan earthquake in Sichuan, floods in northeast China and smog in north and east China during the test period.

Gaofen-1 was the first of five or six satellites to be launched for high-definition Earth observation before 2016. It is also the first low-orbit remote-sensing satellite designed to be in use for longer than five years.

Athi Water Services Board hopes that the construction of Sh 7 billion pipeline from Murang’a will increase the supply of water for Nairobi residents to 140,000 cubic meters per day.

The company chief executive officer Mr. Malaquen Milgo said that the project, which is set to take two years, will significantly raise supply of water to residential and industrial establishments.

Mr. Milgo said that a contractor for the 11.7 kilometer pipeline financed by the World Bank had been picked and is expected on site once the deal is signed.
The pipeline, measuring 3.2 meters in diameter, will take about 40 months to complete, paving way for another mega project that will completely bridge the water deficit by 2030.

The pipeline will discharge raw water from Mragua, Gikire and Irati rivers to Githika river, which drains its water to Ndakaini dam, a major water source for Nairobi. From Ndakaini, a Ksh 4.8 billion water treatment plant financed by the French Development Agency will be constructed at Kigoro to process the extra water supply.

The plant, which was initially set to be built in Ngororo, 44 kilometers from Ndakaini, was shelved after it emerged that it would cost Ksh3 Billion to acquire the pipeline's way-leave. The treated water will then be pumped to Ng'ethu Water works for onward supply to the city.

                   

Samsung and Apple’s top smartphone series have a new challenger. A China smartphone domineer, Xiaomi on Monday unveiled a new smartphone, Mi4.The smartphone which some refer to as the “iPhone of the East” is considered a Galaxy and iPhone hybrid.

The Mi4 has a 5-inch full-HD screen and runs a special modified version of Android that Xiaomi uses in all of its phones. Like the iPhones,Mi4 is all-metal with smoothly-cut edge perimeter.It features a quad-core 2.5GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera and 16GB of 64GB of internal memory.

To beat Samsung’s android phones, the device will run Xiaomi’s custom MIUI operating system – a skinned version of Android that allows for more customization and that removes the Android app drawer in favour of putting all the programs on the home screen (just like an iPhone).

Xiaomi also unveiled an fitness tracker dubbed the MiBand which tracks the wearer’s sleep and steps and can be used also to unlock Xiami’s phones.

Xiaomi however sells its phones only in China and other few emerging markets. It is said to have sold more phones than Apple in China.

Their Mi3 smartphone is ranked seventh in top selling Smartphones by Counterpoint Technology Research Firm as of May this year. Apple is rumored to be working on iPhone 6 which could be released before end of this year.

 

 

 

  • Kenya's Mombasa port traffic up 13 percent in H1

    Kenya's Mombasa port traffic up 13 percent in H1

  • Savannah Cement Develops roads product

  • Kisumu oil exploration to start next year

  • Government to pave extra 10,000 kilometres of road in 5 years

    Government to pave extra 10,000 kilometres of...

  • Mall adopts solar power canopy for car park-...

  • Ksh 60billion for electricity boost in Kenya

    Ksh 60billion for electricity boost in Kenya

  • Rocks for capturing solar energy

    Rocks for capturing solar energy

  • Goafen-2, Earth observation satellite

  • New pipeline to ease Nairobi water woes

  • China unveils a Galaxy-iPhone smartphone challenger

    China unveils a Galaxy-iPhone smartphone...

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