Gorge Farm Energy Park in Naivasha is the first commercial farm in Africa to sell surplus electricity to the national grid by use of biogas. The farm situated in Naivasha produces more than 2MW of electricity to supply sufficient surplus to met power needs to 5,000-6,000 rural homes and cultivate its 706 hectares (1,740 acres) of vegetables and flowers.
The plant produces biogas through anaerobic digestion, a process in which crop residue from the farm is digested by micro-organisms. The end product (biogas) produced is burned in two engines, producing both electricity and heat in a process called cogeneration. The heat produced is used at the farm’s greenhouses with fertilizer as a by-product.
In a published post, Chief Operating Officer at Tropical Power, a developer of biogas and solar plants in Africa, Mike Nolan said, “The Gorge Farm plant is physical proof that locally produced feedstock can be used to generate clean and cost-effective power for all Kenyans.”
He added that producing the same amount of energy using diesel would require 5 million litres of fuel annually plus the extra fuel required to transport the diesel inland from the port of Mombasa.
The new plant will also reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 7,000 tonne per year as the farm doesn’t have to use electricity from the grid produced by oil-fired power stations.
In 2016, Biojoule Kenya, the independent power producer that operates the Gorge Farm plant signed an agreement to sell electricity to Kenya Power at a cost of $0.10 per kilowatt hour (kWh). Gorge is owned by the Vegpro Group, a leading East African exporter of fresh vegetables and it’s the second largest exporter of roses.