Kenya: Africa’s first grid-connected biogas plant powers up


BY: THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION | NAIVASHA |

A commercial farm in Kenya has become Africa’s first electricity producer powered by biogas to sell surplus electricity to the national grid, cutting the carbon emissions associated with oil-powered generation. The Gorge Farm Energy Park in Naivasha produces 2 megawatts (MW) of electricity – more than enough to cultivate its 706 hectares (1,740 acres) of vegetables and flowers, and with sufficient surplus to meet the power needs of 5,000-6,000 rural homes.

The new plant generates not only electricity, but also heat for the farm’s greenhouses, with fertiliser as a by-product.

Gorge Farm, approximately 76km (50 miles) northwest of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, is owned by the Vegpro Group, a leading East African exporter of fresh vegetables and its second largest exporter of roses.

Biojoule Kenya, the independent power producer that operates the Gorge Farm plant, signed an agreement to sell electricity to Kenya Power & Lighting Company (KPLC) – the country’s sole power distributor – in 2016.

Biojoule Kenya sells the power to Gorge Farm and to KPLC for $0.10 per kilowatt hour (kWh). Diesel-generated power, by contrast, costs $0.38 per kWh to produce.

“The Gorge Farm plant is physical proof that locally produced feedstock can be used to generate clean and cost-effective power for all Kenyans,” said Mike Nolan, chief operating officer at Tropical Power, a developer of biogas and solar plants in Africa.

It supplied engines for the plant in conjunction with Clarke Energy, a UK-based engine service provider.

Slashing Diesel Use

The plant produces biogas through anaerobic digestion, a process in which crop residue from the farm is digested by micro-organisms. The biogas produced is burned in two engines, producing both electricity and heat in a process called cogeneration.

Producing the same amount of energy using diesel would require 5 million litres of fuel annually, Nolan explained, plus the extra fuel required to transport the diesel inland from the port of Mombasa.

Tropical Power says the biogas plant contributes to a 7,000-tonne reduction in carbon dioxide emissions per year, since the farm does not have to use electricity from the grid produced by oil-fired power stations.

Cogeneration currently makes up a tiny fraction of renewable power sources in Kenya, at 0.7 percent in 2015, according to the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KENGEN), the country’s biggest power company.

Geothermal was the biggest contributor to the electricity generation mix, with 49 percent, followed by hydropower at 44 percent. But some experts see room for considerable biogas expansion.

“The potential for biogas generated electricity in Kenya is significant,” said Helen Osiolo, a policy analyst at the Kenya Institute of Public Policy Research and Analysis. She believes biogas could generate between 29 and 131 MW of power, but says the biggest challenge is that the government will not pay enough for it.

“There are concerns that the tariff is too low to attract substantive investor interest,” Osiolo said. In addition, agricultural and municipal waste is in demand for other uses such as fertiliser, which may limit the expansion of biogas generation.

Even though anaerobic digestion of waste to produce biogas is an established technology in Europe and Asia, the concept is still new in Africa at large scale. The technology had been deployed in 45 sites globally before debuting at the Gorge Farm plant.

Source Of Fertiliser

Osiolo says a further barrier to the expansion of the use of biogas is the perception that it requires a substantial amount of raw material in order to produce any meaningful energy output.

However, according to Tropical Power, if organic material or crops from 1 percent of Kenya’s landmass were deployed in anaerobic plants connected to the grid, it would produce the equivalent of the country’s entire current effective installed electrical capacity of around 1,800 MW.

There are further benefits, according to Tropical Power’s Nolan. The 50,000 tonnes of Gorge Farm’s residue that can be used annually for biogas can produce 35,000 tonnes of a natural fertiliser by-product.

That can be used to improve the crop yield of local farms, displacing synthetic fertiliser, he said.
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Nolan said thatTropical Power’s experience with the grid operator has been straightforward.

“Our site is located very close to the grid interconnection point and so engineering challenges were minimised,” he said.

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Worldliness


From the treatise on Flight from the World by Saint Ambrose, bishop

Hold fast to God, the one true good

Where a man’s heart is, there is his treasure also. God is not accustomed to refusing a good gift to those who ask for one. Since he is good, and especially to those who are faithful to him, let us hold fast to him with all our soul, our heart, our strength, and so enjoy his light and see his glory and possess the grace of supernatural joy. Let us reach out with our hearts to possess that good, let us exist in it and live in it, let us hold fast to it, that good which is beyond all we can know or see and is marked by perpetual peace and tranquillity, a peace which is beyond all we can know or understand.

This is the good that permeates creation. In it we all live, on it we all depend. It has nothing above it; it is divine. No one is good but God alone. What is good is therefore divine, what is divine is therefore good. Scripture says: When you open your hand all things will be filled with goodness. It is through God’s goodness that all that is truly good is given us, and in it there is no admixture of evil.

These good things are promised by Scripture to those who are faithful: The good things of the land will be your food.

We have died with Christ. We carry about in our bodies the sign of his death, so that the living Christ may also be revealed in us. The life we live is not now our ordinary life but the life of Christ: a life of sinlessness, of chastity, of simplicity and every other virtue. We have risen with Christ. Let us live in Christ, let us ascend in Christ, so that the serpent may not have the power here below to wound us in the heel.

Let us take refuge from this world. You can do this in spirit, even if you are kept here in the body. You can at the same time be here and present to the Lord. Your soul must hold fast to him, you must follow after him in your thoughts, you must tread his ways by faith, not in outward show. You must take refuge in him. He is your refuge and your strength. David addresses him in these words: I fled to you for refuge, and I was not disappointed.

Since God is our refuge, God who is in heaven and above the heavens, we must take refuge from this world in that place where there is peace, where there is rest from toil, where we can celebrate the great sabbath, as Moses said: The sabbaths of the land will provide you with food. To rest in the Lord and to see his joy is like a banquet, and full of gladness and tranquillity.

Let us take refuge like deer beside the fountain of waters. Let our soul thirst, as David thirsted, for the fountain. What is that fountain? Listen to David: With you is the fountain of life. Let my soul say to this fountain: When shall I come and see you face to face? For the fountain is God himself.

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To Curse: Harmful Effects of Cursing



Just because someone we know or are friends with, says something unkind or in anger, doesn’t mean it is ok for us, we have to make our own high standards and stick with them. Sometimes, we have to be the ones to let someone else know that saying cuss words is hurtful to others as well. It can be as simple as saying, “I don’t like it when you say that word”, or “When you say that it hurts my feelings”.

By ages five and six years, kids are thinking that using potty language is funny, by tween and teen years, programming on TV and video games are saturated with F-bombs. Coming into these situations, are the perfect opportunities, to begin helping the youth in our sphere of influence form their own opinions of how cussing can hurt the feelings of people we care about.

Read more why we should not curse or cuss.

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