Thesis project: The viability of supplying energy to an industrial park in Menengai, Kenya

ISE Student Jack Kiruja succesfully defends his final thesis


REYKJAVIK, December 13 - Former United Nation University-Geothermal Training Programme and current ISE student Jack Kiruja has successfully presented his final thesis project, securing his graduation from the ISE's Sustainable Energy Engineering programme. His thesis research was focused on the feasibility of supplying an industrial park in Menengai, Kenya, with energy from the nearby geothermal field.


In Kenya, extensive efforts have been made to increase the utilization of the countries abundant geothermal resources for power generation. To date, there are 600 MW of electricity generation capacity installed and more under development. One such site currently under development is the Menengai geothermal field, which is being developed by the Geothermal Development Company (GDC). Jack's thesis research proposes, extending the efforts of developing the field beyond electricity generation by creating an industrial park in the proximity for industries requiring heat for their processes. Such industries in Kenya include dairy and meat processing or the textile industry, which currently rely mostly on fossil fuels for their heating needs. Therefore, such a park might not only offer cheaper fuel to their operations but also reduce emissions from industrial processes.

The idea is to utilize the excess heat from the fluids intended for electricity generation in Menengai along with other wells fluids unsuitable for electricity generation to supply the proposed site with hot steam and fluid. Jack's report considers three scenarios for industrial heat demand, ranging from 6MWt to 22MWt as well as a total five possible options to meet this demand. In an effort to utilize the resource as efficiently as possible as well as minimize unnecessary wastewater, Jack proposed the introduction of cascading through different temperature stages. From his analysis, he concludes that this offers significant improvements to efficiency and substantially decreases overall fluid demand.

To determine a final verdict on the viability of supplying such a park with heat from the geothermal field, an economic assessment was undertaken. Jack found that all the analyzed scenarios and options proved to be profitable after 25 years of operation with a payback period of between 6 and 10 years and an Internal Rate of Return of between 20% and 30%.

Congratulations to Jack for completing his Master's degree here at Iceland School of Energy.

To view Jack's research abstract, click here .


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