In Kenya, one of Africa’s first grid-connected biogas plants, the Gorge Farm Energy Park biogas plant, has been generating 2.2MW of power early 2015. The generated power has been fed back into the country’s national electricity grid since March 2015.
The $6.5 million biogas plant which is located in Naivasha, generates power from organic crop waste which is sourced from a neighbouring farm owned by VP Group, one of East Africa’s biggest exporters of fresh vegetables, How we made it in Africa reported.
The vegetable farm produces thousands of tonnes of organic waste annually where 50,000 tonnes will be supplied to the Gorge Farm Energy Park every year.
Johnnie McMillan, managing director of Tropical Power an engineering, procurement and construction company, which built the Naivasha biogas plant said: “Our investors are passionate because this is clean technology and it fits with an agricultural operation.
“The shareholders want to make a difference to the planet and when you find a technology [anaerobic digestion] that can make money and can contribute to the green revolution across the world, then that’s a feel good factor for investors. In a nutshell, they can make money and make a difference.”
According to McMillan Africa has small-scale biogas plants but large-scale grid-connected plants have not been seen as feasible projects due to the limited knowledge and high tariff prices.
McMillan added that the Kenya has an opportune environment to commercially produce biogas due to the country’s large agricultural industry.
According to Tropical Power, if organic waste from just 1% of Kenya’s landmass was deployed in biogas plants, it would produce the equivalent of the country’s entire grid connected electricity capacity, how we made it in Africa reported.
Projects in Africa
Tropical Power has plans to develop more biogas projects across Africa with the intention of building renewable power plants with a generation capacity of 130MW by 2018.
The power company is currently preparing for the construction of a biogas and solar plant in Ghana, the biogas and solar Kpong Farm Energy Park. The power project will receive organic waste from the 1,000ha VP Group owned Kpong Farm, located at the south-east corner of Lake Volta.
McMillan said: “Our real focus is establishing a platform for growth across Africa.
“One of the big attractions for Kenya is that Kenya Power is a very strong utility. It has a very strong track record of payment and so it is attractive from a point of view of raising money. The number one thing lenders look at is how safe the utility is [in terms of payment] if you are doing a grid-connected project.”
Pic credit: heavy artillary