Africa’s first grid-connected AD plant fires up

Africa's first grid-connected Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant has been opened in Kenya, developer Tropical Power Energy Group has announced.

The 2.2MW Gorge Farm Energy Park, developed in Kenya's Nakuru Country, will use local crop waste to create biogas for electricity generation.

The developer said the $7.5m plant could reduce the country's carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 7,000 tonnes each year, and will have a payback period of six years.

Kinuthia Mbugua, governor of Nakuru County, says the project would provide a boost to the country's energy security.

‘The Gorge Farm Energy Park is a showcase project for Nakuru Country, Kenya and the African continent,’ he says in a statement.

‘Distributed power projects are vital to our energy security, reliability and efficiency and the park will be using local crop waste and the sun to generate clean, renewable power close to the point of use.’

The energy plant will also be used as a research facility for scientists at Oxford University, who will study the facility to identify ways of advancing the technology so it can compete with conventional fossil fuel power generation.

Mike Mason, chairman of Tropical Power, says the plant demonstrates how clean energy can be cost-effective.

‘Through the Gorge Farm Energy Park, we aim to displace expensive and imported generation fuels - like diesel and heavy fuel oil - from Kenya's distributed power mix,’ he says. ‘The Gorge Farm AD Plant is proof that locally produced feedstock can generate clean and cost effective distributed power. You cannot just plug and play a plant like this.’

Tropical Power claims that it is now in the final stages of fundraising and planning for the proposed additional 10MW solar development, which will also be constructed at the site, adding that it hopes to begin work within the next 12 months.

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