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Sub-Saharan Biogas Power

GE, Clarke Energy to supply Jenbacher engines for Africa renewable biogas power project

Posted on June 19, 2013

GE is supplying U.K.-based energy project developer Clarke Energy with two of its Jenbacher J420 biogas engines for a new 2.8 MW agricultural biogas power project near Lake Naivasha in Kenya.

The project, owned by Tropical Power, marks the first biogas engine project in sub-Saharan Africa for Clarke Energy, GE’s authorized Jenbacher gas engine distributor in the region, the company said. GE and Clarke Energy said they have collaborated on numerous natural gas and biogas projects in other countries on the African continent.

The plant is located on a vegetable farm; the biomass waste – including trimmings and unsold vegetables – will be processed in a digester system to create biogas, which will fuel the Jenbacher engines to generate renewable electricity.

The farm currently uses power from the grid and diesel generation for pumps, irrigation production, compressors and other equipment. However, Tropical Power said its digester biogas power plant will produce enough electricity to meet all of the farm’s on-site energy needs while also delivering surplus electricity to the local grid, stabilizing the strained local power distribution network.

GE said the two J420 units will be designed to operate at the farm’s high altitude of nearly 2000 meters above sea level and will be configured for cogeneration, with surplus heat recovered as hot water and used to support the biogas plant’s process heating, the company said.

GE will deliver the biogas engines to Kenya by the end of 2013. Clarke Energy will deliver the project with local content originating from local suppliers and operated by Kenyan nationals. Clarke Energy will provide Tropical Power with project support, including gas engine operational and maintenance training of workers, while its East African service hub will handle more demanding engine maintenance procedures.