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Biogas Plant - Sisal cum Cattle Farm in Kilifi, Kenya

From energypedia


Mostly referred to as a positive example is a biogas plant with electricity generation on a sisal cum cattle farm in Kilifi, Kenya. It transforms agricultural waste such as cow manure and sisal to biogas and produces electricity and heat as end products. The technology is almost the same as used in Germany. The plant design seems to be well-adapted to farm operations and has been fully operational since September 2007.

The biogas plant in Kilifi, operated by the Biogas Power Company (EA) Ltd., a joint venture of Kilifi Plantations (KE) and the German companies agriKomp GmbH and Schnell Zündstrahlmotoren AG & Co. KG, was established through a tripartite Public Private Partnership (PPP) with GIZ. According to the publications of the operating organisation, the biogas plant in Kilifi is the biggest in Kenya.

Biogas Plant Technical Data

The basic technical data of the plant:

  • 750 cbm digester
  • Inst. capacity: 150 kWel; actual production max. 90 kW
  • 4 t substrate / day: dung from 200 cattle (40%), sisal waste (60%)
  • Feedstock available for extension up to 1 Mwel if excess electricity could be sold to the grid at a fair tariff.
  • El. Production cost: 0,16 EUR / kWh (for comparison: grid electricity 0,15-0,18 EUR / kWh)

The framework  conditions:

  • Frequent power cuts due to technical faults, low capacity
  • Companies have to install emergency backup power systems, mostly diesel (costs: 0,25-0,42 €/kWh)
  • Kenya: High and – due to pass-through of fossil fuel costs – fluctuating power costs (e.g. Kilifi: 0,1575 – 0,185 €/kWh )
  • Improvement due to strong government and private sector efforts likely, but in the medium term; persistent risk of power cuts due to hydro power vulnerability to drought
  • Currently no biogas-specific regulation in East Africa
  • Power production of biogas falls under „Standardized PPA” (TZ) or „Feed- in Law“ (KE)
  • In Kenya: biogas is covered by „biomass“ tariffs, which are too low

The lessons learnt in Kilifi, according to Franz (2009):

  • Import of equipment: professional agent and close liaison with authorities for clearance of plant equipment required
  • Tariffs / grid connection: need to liaise at a very early stage with the Kenya Power and Lighting Co. (KPLC), Ministry of Energy and Energy Regulatory Commission to allow for structured and smooth process
  • Local capacities: need to bring qualified staff and train local staff
  • Local manufacture: local manufacturing of pipes, wiring, and civil works should be possible and reduce costs

Further Information