Kenya’s Geothermal Development Company (GDC) is making progress in geothermal technology.
Africa’s Geothermal Center of Excellence held its first training workshop last week. Seeking to enhance the capacity in which geothermal technology in Africa is built, Kenya’s GDC announces new plans for development and improvements in its facilities.
Managing director and CEO Eng. Johnson P. Ole Nchoe promises that this move will captivate Africans interest in learning more about geothermal technology.
“The future of this training program is very promising and bright.” he said noting that the graduates were GDC’s ambassadors in the region, “There will be more such trainings at higher levels than before,”
Twenty-two students from 11 different African nations were able to receive training on various aspects of geothermal development.
Geothermal development is a rising interest in Africa, particularly East Africa
According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), the geothermal potential of Kenya is estimated to be about 7000 MW, while only 200 MW is currently being utilized.
For instance, Quantum Power East Africa is being granted 49.5 million from the AfDB.
With the grant money, three 35-MW geothermal plants will be installed at Menengai field in Nakuru County, Kenya.
The first of three plants began construction in January of 2018.
What is Geothermal Energy and How Does it Work?
“Geo” means from the earth (i.e. geology) and “thermal” means heat, so geothermal energy is energy found under the earth.
Four feet beneath the earth’s surface, the temperature stays around 55 degrees Fahrenheit all year round. It is possible to harness this energy by first pumping a pipe four feet underground. Upon reaching that depth, pressure decreases and the water turns into steam.
That steams activates a turbine, which is connected to a generator that produces electricity.
From there, the steam will go to a cooling tower to cool off and condense back to water, and then the process starts all over again.