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Jumpstarting Geothermal

In my opinion there is a lot of talk about "Green Tech" but there are very few whose "feet match their mouths" ... very few who actually do anything about helping to change the energy footprint of the world that we all live in. Well, the Olkaria Geothermal Power Plant in Kenya is about to undergo a green technology transformation that will leave a lasting impact on the geothermal energy community.  Kenya Electricity Generating Limited (KenGen), producer of around 80% of the power consumed in Kenya selected Langson Energy, Inc. (LEI), a USA energy equipment manufacturer, to conduct a green technology feasibility study for the Kenya plant. Finding a specialized genset that can be installed upstream as a topping unit capable of accepting high pressure geothermal wellhead pressures to capture the waste energy and generate additional clean electricity is a challenge. However the LEI machines are capable of fulfilling the needs of the plants. The United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), were in Nairobi, Kenya on April 27, 2017 and stated: “USTDA is pleased to facilitate new business partnerships between U.S. and Kenyan companies that can spur long-term, sustainable economic growth,” said Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Director Lida Fitts. “The adoption of innovative and cost-effective U.S. technology can help Kenya to meet its energy development goals.”    

This study will evaluate the technical, commercial, financial, and environmental viability of utilizing a 5 MW Total Flow Generator to make more efficient use of the geothermal resource at Olkaria. Upon the successful results of the study, KenGen and LEI will have the opportunity to install a number of additional units in the more than 275 wells which will optimize power plant efficiency and greatly impact the electric footprint in the country.   

Here is a little background info on Langson Energy‘s Senior Engineer, Dr. Ron DiPippo, who will be the Geothermal Expert on the project working with a team of 10 other experts.  As Author of 4 major books including, Geothermal Power Plants: Principles, Applications and Case Studies, Dr. DiPippo is the foremost world authority and consultant on Geothermal Power Plants. In addition to Dr. DiPippo’s experience with the Olkaria Geothermal Power Plant in Kenya, he has worked in many geothermally active US states and countries around the world.  Dr. DiPippo states, “The advantages of a thermodynamically equivalent Total Flow Generator will lie in its simplicity, lower capital cost, ease and rapidity of installation, reliable operation, lower cost of electricity, and ability to operate on lower-temperature reservoirs, compared to either flash-steam or binary systems.” Most green tech companies don't boast such an expert, which I find essential for lending real credibility to this project.

The geothermal industry is only one of the many application sites that can use equipment to generate clean green power. This blogger poses the question: Why aren’t more big businesses utilizing green tech? At the risk of being controversial is just because systems have already been established and adding to a company’s infrastructure just isn’t on Today’s List of Things To Do? It just makes sense (cents) to me that is worth it to take the time to crunch the numbers and see that spinning your electric meter backwards and adding power back into the world has no downside!  

-Sarah Sika Bowden

sarahsikabowden@gmail.com

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