June 18, 2013 09:00
GE's J420 Jenbacher gas engineGE 

GE and Clarke Energy to Supply Jenbacher Engines to Tropical Power for First Renewable Biogas Power Project in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Clarke Energy to Install Two Containerized Jenbacher J420 Biogas Engines at Farm in Kenya
  • GE’s Jenbacher Units to Generate 2.8-MW of Renewable Power to Meet Local Area’s Needs
  • Anaerobic Digester to Convert Vegetable Farm’s Crop Waste into Biogas for GE’s Gas Engines


JENBACH, AUSTRIA—June 18, 2013—Showcasing the growing role of distributed power technologies to meet Africa’s energy needs, GE (NYSE: GE) is supplying U.K.-based energy project developer Clarke Energy with two of its ecomagination qualifiedJenbacher J420 biogas engines for a new 2.8-megawatt (MW) agricultural biogas power project at a large vegetable farm near Lake Naivasha in Kenya.The project, owned by Tropical Power, marks the first biogas engine project in sub-Saharan Africa for Clarke Energy, GE’s authorized Jenbacher gas engine distributor in the region. GE and Clarke Energy have collaborated on numerous natural gas and biogas projects in other countries on the African continent.

The farm grows vegetables for sale in supermarkets and other locations. The farm’s biomass waste, including trimmings and unsold vegetables, will be processed in a digester system to create biogas, which will fuel the Jenbacher engines to generate renewable electricity.

The two J420 units will be designed to operate at the farm’s high altitude of nearly 2,000 meters above sea level. The containerized gas engines will be configured for cogeneration, with surplus heat recovered as hot water and used to support the biogas plant’s process heating.

The project is important for Kenya’s local economy because current economic development efforts in the country are putting a strain on the local power distribution network.

Currently, the farm uses power from the grid and diesel generation for pumps, irrigation production, compressors and other equipment. However, Tropical Power’s new digester biogas power plant will produce enough electricity to meet all of the farm’s on-site energy needs while also delivering surplus electricity to the local grid, which will help stabilize power supplies for the region.

This is noteworthy because reliable power supplies support consistent business operations and help drive local economic growth.

Anaerobic digestion is an established technology in Europe and Asia for the treatment of biodegradable wastes and for the production of renewable power. However, there are not many examples of commercial anaerobic digestion facilities in Africa.

“We selected Clarke Energy to supply GE’s biogas engines on the basis of their experience of operating in sub-Saharan Africa, along with a technical solution that offered high electrical efficiency and robust performance using biogas at high altitude,” said Mike Nolan, operations director for Tropical Power.

GE will deliver the biogas engines to Kenya by the end of 2013. In addition to GE’s gas engines, Clarke Energy will deliver the project with local content originating from local suppliers and operated by Kenyan nationals.

“This first biogas engine project in sub-Saharan Africa for Clarke Energy and GE demonstrates how our fuel-flexible Jenbacher gas engines can provide reliable and cleaner on-site power, using local energy resources and labor to help promote energy and economic security throughout the African continent,” said Karl Wetzlmayer, general manager of gas engines for power generation—GE Power & Water.

Clarke Energy will provide Tropical Power with project support, including gas engine operational and maintenance training of workers. Clarke Energy’s East African service hub will handle more demanding engine maintenance procedures.

“We are delighted to be supplying GE’s Jenbacher biogas engines for our first biogas project in sub-Saharan Africa. This project demonstrates the viability of biogas as a power source in Africa to deliver significant supplies of power to the region,” said James Hobday, Clarke Energy’s business development manager for Africa.

The project illustrates the ongoing demand for GE’s gas engine distributed power solutions to help boost local energy security for industries as Kenya and other countries work to modernize their power and water infrastructure.

GE’s Type 4 engines offer power outputs of 800 kW to 1.5 MW and are highly regarded for their high power density and outstanding efficiency. The optimized control and monitoring provides easy preventive maintenance and maximum reliability and availability, which are important benefits in remote, rural locations.

GE’s gas engines set the industry standard for fuel flexibility, low emissions and high efficiency and availability. Demonstrating impressive fuel-flexibility, GE’s engines can operate not only on natural gas, but also on a broad range of alternative gases including digester biogas, landfill gas, coal mine gas and sewage gases.

GE’s Jenbacher gas engines are part of GE’s ecomagination portfolio. Ecomagination is GE’s commitment to provide innovative solutions that maximize resources, drive efficiencies and make the world work better. To qualify for the portfolio, products and services must demonstrate both improved economic value and environmental performance.

GE’s Jenbacher gas engines also are part of the company’s portfolio of innovative distributed power solutions, designed to give businesses and communities around the world the ability to generate more reliable and efficient power using a variety of fuels in diverse locations on or off the grid. GE’s distributed power portfolio also includes GE’s aeroderivative gas turbines,Waukesha gas engines and Clean Cycle waste heat recovery solutions.

About Clarke Energy in Sub-Saharan Africa

Clarke Energy has had a long history in sub-Saharan Africa with its first sale into Nigeria in 2002 and with an office opening in Apapa, Lagos in 2005. Clarke Energy has since installed over 180 MW of gas fuelled power plants on the back of the expansion of Nigeria’s domestic gas supplies. Since inception, Clarke Energy’s Nigerian operations have expanded and moved to Ikeja GRA, opening a new branch office in Port Harcourt in 2012.

Clarke Energy East African operations are based out of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

In Nigeria, Clarke Energy has installed power plants for a large number of major industrial facilities including Diageo (Guinness Ogba and Benin breweries), PZ Cousins, GlaxoSmithKline, Oando, Dunlop and Flour Mills of Nigeria. These power plants are backed-up and supported by teams of African service engineers who have been trained in Austria and the U.K. to the highest standards. Clarke Energy’s policy of localization means the employment of local nationals at all levels of the business and ensures development of in-country skills and knowledge.

About GE

GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.ge.com.

About GE Power & Water

GE Power & Water provides customers with a broad array of power generation, energy delivery and water process technologies to solve their challenges locally. Power & Water works in all areas of the energy industry including renewable resources such as wind and solar, biogas and alternative fuels; and coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy. The business also develops advanced technologies to help solve the world’s most complex challenges related to water availability and quality. Power & Water’s six business units include Distributed Power, Nuclear Energy, Power Generation Services, Renewable Energy, Thermal Products and Water & Process Technologies. Headquartered in Schenectady, N.Y., Power & Water is GE’s largest industrial business.

Follow GE Power & Water on Twitter @GE_PowerWater.


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