Kenya Establishes Biodegradable Waste Treatment Plant

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Written by Dana Sanchez

Tropical Power, a developer of biogas and solar plants in Africa, signed a deal with U.K.-based Clarke Energy to supply two Jenbacher biogas engines to an agricultural biogas plant at a farm near Lake Naivasha, Kenya.

Kenya’s traditional power distribution network is strained, and creation of biogas using waste materials will deliver a reliable source of power to drive economic growth in the area, according to a report in African Business Review.

The biogas will be produced from the anaerobic processing of agricultural waste from surrounding farms, the report says. The end products will be fertilizer and power.

The plant is expected to produce 2.4 megawatts of renewable electricity, enough to power the farm and surrounding area up to 5,000 to 6,000 homes.

Surplus heat recovered as hot water will be used to heat the biogas plant and adjacent greenhouses.

Anaerobic digestion is an established technology in Europe and Asia for the treatment of biodegradable wastes and the production of renewable power, but there are few examples of large commercial anaerobic digestion facilities in Africa, according to African Business Review.

“We are delighted to be supplying gas engines to our first biogas project in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said James Hobday, Clarke Energy’s new business development manager for Africa, in the report. “This project demonstrates the viability of biogas as a power source in Africa to deliver significant supplies of power to the region.”

Mike Nolan, operations director at Tropical Power, said he sees great potential for biogas to help power the African continent, especially when used in combination with solar power.

The Kenyan biogas project site is about 6,500 feet above sea level. Tropical Power selected Clarke Energy for its experience in Sub-Saharan Africa and its proof of robust performance using biogas at high altitude, Nolan said in the report.

Clarke Energy became established in Nigeria before opening offices in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 2012, according to African Business Review.