The Geothermal Development Company (GDC) held an engagement meeting with KEPSA members on 11th July, 2018 at KEPSA offices. The objective of the meeting was to apprise members on alternative uses of geothermal resources other than electricity generation including but not limited to greenhouse heating, drying of grains, pasteurizing milk, cooling and heating rooms.
During the meeting members were updated on the progress of ongoing geothermal generation projects in Menengai, Baringo- Silali, Olkaria, and Suswa. Members were also informed about GDC’s strategy to support the Big 4 agenda through direct use of steam as follows.
- Manufacturing: a concept is under development to identify prime areas to set up SEZ facilities where manufacturers would benefit from low cost power and steam.
- Irrigation: GDC is providing condensate water from power plants used for irrigation to benefit communities that reside next to the geothermal projects.
- Fish farming: geothermal heat has been used to heat fish ponds thus accelerate growth of tilapia by 1/3.
Some of the companies that have benefited from alternative use for geothermal steam include KENGEN and Oserian Flower Farm.
- Recreation: KENGEN has established a wellness spa which is currently in operation.
- Green house heating: Oserian flower farm has put 50 hectares under greenhouse heating using geothermal steam. GDC has demonstrated that farmers can save as much as 40% of their production cost if they use this method.
- Pasteurization: A demonstration project has been developed in Menengai for Milk pasteurization. The prototype has proved commercial viability of the project.
- Grain drying: GDC will support the use of steam to dry grains to reduce post-harvest losses. A semi commercial Grain drying machine to be installed in Nakuru by end of 2018.
Members were also informed that GDC had established the Africa Geothermal Center of Excellence to train professionals. The centre of excellence is a critical facility for training a pool of emerging geothermal experts on the continent. Further, the Center conducted a GAP analysis study and identified skills gaps in geology, reservoir engineering and directional drilling. To date the center has trained over 500 people from the region.
The forum which was attended by members drawn from Energy, Industrialization and Agriculture sector boards of KEPSA also presented an opportunity for KEPSA to explore areas for partnership.