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Tropical Power Commissions The First Grid-Connect Biogas Plant In Africa

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Mike Nolan left and Johnnie McMillan right
Mike Nolan left and Johnnie McMillan right


Tropical Power Energy Group, (Tropical Power) has built and is commissioning the first grid-connect Anaerobic Digester (AD) plant in Africa, which is situated in Naivasha Kenya.The 2.2MW Farm AD plant will be selling electricity into the local grid to Gorge Farm.

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The facility only uses crop residue, mostly from maize as it has high hydrogen content and catalyse it with cow dung as it has the bacteria required for the whole process. This waste is digested by micro-organisms feeding in the absence of oxygen to produce biogas; which is then combusted in gas engines to produce electricity and heat.

Johnie McMillan, Managing Director, Tropical Power said: “Through biogas and solar, we want to displace expensive and imported generation fuels like diesel and heavy fuel oil from Kenya’s distributed power mix. The Gorge Farm AD Plant is physical proof that locally-produced feedstock can be used to generate clean and cost effective distributed power for all Kenyans.”

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This farm has more than one the end product this include:-

  • Electricity

This farm produces 2.2MW and has predicted that wit only 1 percent of Kenya’s landmass was deployed in grid-connect AD plants it will produce 1813, which is the entire consumption of electricity in Kenya

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Plant sells electricity to Kenya Power; it is the first AD plant to be granted a Power Purchase Agreement with Kenya power this year.

The farm is providing electricity to an average of 8000-1000 homes in the neighbourhood and also provides its own electricity and energy it needs to function as a company.

  • Fertilizers

The farm uses 50,000 Tonnes of organic crop waste each year to produce electricity; and it will produce at least 35,000 tonnes of Nitrogen –rich matter which can be used as fertilizers. The farm uses this as fertiliser for its very own crops.

Mike Nolan, the company’s Operations Director says that this is a potential business opportunity as farmers will sell their farm residue to the company and later buy the fertilizer which is at a more nutritious state than leaving the residue in the farm to decay.

This, McMillan added, will be a boost in crop production which will in turn boost Kenya’s GDP as it Agriculture is the mainstay of the country.

  • Heat

Nolan told TechMoran that there is always excess of energy in the process; excess energy mainly collected in the exhaust is used to heat water which is used regulating temperatures in the green houses.

  • Employment opportunities

It will create opportunity for the engineers who have not yet been absorbed in the job market.

It will also improve farming which in turn; Kenya will have more farmers hence food security. This will also urbanisation, where people crowd the cities in search of employments.

Operation Director, Mike Nolan told TechMoran that they are planning on sitting up a training centre in the farm to teach anyone who is interested in taking up the technology either commercially or domestically. He added that the biogas technology is not new but not many people have the ‘know-how’.


According to Nolan, if we had such plants in every county, things like garbage and sewage collection problems will be minimal if not extinct, as the AD will be collecting all organic waste to produce energy.

With all this good things that may come from this plant one would think that the cost of constructing such a plant is way over board, but company Director said that the Gorge farm was constracted in less than 12 months and it cost $6.5 million that is Ksh. 591 million to build; and it has an effective lifecycle of more than 20 years.

The farm has partnered with:

  • Kenya’s VP group- the largest producer and exporter of fresh produce in East Africa,
  • Has an exclusive development licence with Snow Leopard Project GmbH- a leading developer of AD technology based in Germany
  • GE- it deploys its gas engines

The farm will be owned and managed by Biojoule Kenya an independent power producer (IPP) and has a gold standard certificate of Carbon Credits.

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Caroline Vutagwa
Caroline Vutagwa
Minding my own business is not enough for me that's why you will always find me minding Africa's Businesses as well as Technology and of course letting you know about it. Talk to me on [email protected]

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