Rwanda Taps Into ‘Exploding Lake’ To Power Its Economy

Written by Kevin Mwanza

Less than 20 percent of Rwandan households have electricity, but this could change once the tiny east African country taps into Lake Kivu’s methane reserves that could generate up to 800 megawatts. The Lake, which is also known as the ‘exploding lake’ because of likely eruptions from the 60 billion cubic meters of methane gas it stores, lies at the boarder of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In its vision 2020, the Paul Kagame’s government plans to increase the electricity supply in the country to 1,000 megawatts, and harvesting Lake Kivu’s methane will go a long way in sealing this gap. The methane resides 250 meters underneath the lake, and to extract it, engineers lower a pipe just about the layer of dissolved gas. Once captured, the gas is purified and dried. Overall, it’s a cheap method for creating electricity.

“It’s a very rewarding job, because it’s the first time [it’s been done]. It’s a new technology, and the people of Rwanda are very excited about it. Being a pioneer, being the first doing this, it gives some us respect,” Olivier Ntirushwa, the manager at Kibuye Power Plant in northwest Rwanda told CNN’s Insider Africa.