We wrote about the company in 2013 when they started the construction of the plant and they have finally completed the project. Africa’s largest Biogas plant based in Naivasha is finally in operation. (Read: Bavarian Company to Build the Largest Biogas Plant in Naivasha)
Not only is it the largest in the whole of Africa, but it also doubles up as the first Anaerobic Digester (AD) plant in Africa.
The plant will add 2.4 megawatt (MW) of power into the grid, using solely crop waste. The plant is fed with 120 tonnes of organic waste from nearby farms. The organic waste is digested by micro-organisms in the absence of oxygen to produce biogas. The biogas is then combusted in gas engines to produce electricity and heat.
The plant has two General Electric’s Jenbacher gas engines, each of 1.2 MW, installed. This is the first time these engines are being used in East Africa in a renewable energy project. Due to high demand for power during the day, both engines run during the day, while only one runs at night.
“The Gorge Farm AD Plant is a pioneering power project for Kenya. Distributed power projects are vital to Kenya’s energy security, reliability and efficiency, by generating electricity close to the point of use,” says Johnnie McMillan, Managing Director, Tropical Power.
“Through biogas and solar, we want to displace expensive and imported generation fuels – like diesel and heavy fuel oil – from Kenya’s distributed power mix. The Gorge Farm AD Plant is physical proof that locally-produced feedstock can be used to generate clean and cost-effective distributed power for all Kenyans.”
The Gorge Farm AD Plant cost €5 million (Sh591 million) to build with equipment worth €1.5 million being shipped from Bavaria. It is projected to have a 5.5-year payback period –due to the combination of grid sales and higher tariff energy supply to Gorge Farm. The plant has an effective lifecycle of more than 20 years.
The project was run by the Bavarian biogas plant manufacturer Snow Leopard Projects GmbH (SLP) from Reisbach who partnered with Tropical Power, the first company to receive a Power Purchase agreement for biogas power. The control technology was provided by SAR Group from the UK.
With that project done, SLP and Tropical power are looking into ways of harvesting water hyacinth that is currently taking over Lake Naivasha, as well as setting up a training institute on all matters, biogas.
Currently Kenya generates 1.7 GW for 40million while Germany generates 170GW for 80million. Vision2030 aims to increase generation to 15 GW.