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Largest grid-connected African biogas plant comes online

By Anna Simet | August 24, 2015

Tropical Power has brought online a 2.4-MW biogas power plant in Kenya, reportedly the largest grid-connected biogas plant built in Africa to date.

Located at Gorge Farm, an 800-hectare vegetable farm owned by VP Group, the $6.5 million, two-stage George Farm AD plant will take in waste from the operations as feedstock, around 150 metric tons per day, according to Tropical Power. As a byproduct, the plant is estimated to produce over 35,000 metric tons of fertilizer for use on the farm, displacing an estimated 20 percent of synthetic fertilizer.

The plant was manufactured by German technology supplier Snow Leopard and utilizes a two GE ecomagination qualified Jenbacher J420 biogas engines. Other key component suppliers include IET Siemens for switchgear and transformers, SAR GMBH for instrumentation and control systems, BioG for material handling and Paulmichel for agitators and stirring equipment, according to Topical Power.

The plant took less than 12 months to construct, and Tropical Power estimates its payback period to be around 5 and a half years, on account of grid sales and higher-tariff energy supply to Gorge Farm.

Biojoule Kenya, an Independent Power Producer, will own and manage the facility.

In statements issued when the plant was being commissioned, Mike Nolan, operations director of Tropical Power, said the plant is 50 percent owned and has employed 50 Kenyans in its development. “It will provide a great shop front for other African project developers to view cutting-edge biogas technology and skills,” he said.

Soon to be added to the facility is 10-MW, grid-connected solar PV plant run by Solarjoule.