With the rise in demand for cleaner and more sustainable sources of energy, several organizations around the country are now in search of cheap electricity to turn their communities into smoke-free environments. Kenya and Uganda are in the forefront trying to replace the usual sources of power from diesel or geothermal with green sources.
To this effect, the government of Kenya is set to launch the first grid-connected biogas plant on March 1st 2015. The plant will add 2.6MW of electricity generated from crop waste such as spent vegetable, maize stovers, cut rose flower stems, rejected vegetables and maize to generate electricity.
The 2.6MW plant is being undertaken by VegPro Group. The project is worth KES 591million ($6.5 million). It will be located in 800-hectare Gorge Farm Energy Park near Lake Naivasha. Biojule Kenya, the Independent Power Producer (IPP), owned by Tropical Power Limited; part of a company that builds biogas and solar plants in Africa, has signed a power purchase agreement (PPP) with Kenya Power to supply 2MW to the national grid. This will power about 8000 households.
Biojule plant uses a process called anaerobic digestion, where the biomass waste is digested by microorganisms in the absence of oxygen to produce biogas. The biogas is then combusted in a combined heat and power engine to produce electricity and heat. Half of the electricity produced from the biogas plant will be sold to Kenya Power at a cost of KES 9.16 per kilowatt hour (kWh).
Near the Biojule biogas plant, Tropical has acquired 22 hectares of land to build a solar plant that will generate another 10 MW of electricity for the national grid.
Johnnie McMillan, Managing Director of Tropical Power Kenya Ltd said the plant will start producing power within weeks and the output from the biogas digester will be used as natural fertiliser in the Energy farm, displacing 20% of synthetic fertiliser used at the farm.
The group aims at reducing electricity and fertiliser costs through this project. The Gorge Farm Energy Park was built in 12 months and was completed in January 2015.
Meanwhile, Kampala, capital city of Uganda is opting to generate electricity from animal waste and wastewater to replace emergency power generators. This project will save the Ugandan abattoir around KES 91,455 ($1 005) a month.
The Kampala city’s largest abattoir, has received funds from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) through the Bio Resources Innovations Network for Eastern Africa (Bio-Innovate). This is to provide them with an organic power generation system to supply the business with a reliable power source.
This will reduce over reliance on emergency power from generators which are expensive especially in case of power black outs that last up to 12 hours a day. The abattoir is now able to reduce power costs and the amount of pollution it adds to nearby landfills and water reserves.
The plant will generate an average of about 10-15 cubic meters of biogas daily,60 cubic meters of gas to help run about 15 security lights,15 deep freezers and 15 refrigerators at the abattoir.
The biogas project will also use solar panels to heat water and increase the temperature in the digester to produce the most optimal methane gas to burn for power.