Kenya is a country in East Africa with coastline on the Indian Ocean. It encompasses savannah, Lakelands, the dramatic Great Rift Valley and mountain highlands. It’s also home to wildlife like lions, elephants and rhinos. Now Kenya wants to tap into the geothermal energy that’s buried beneath its feet.
The geothermal wealth beneath Kenya has not been utilised to its full potential for quite some time but now Kenya is beginning to harness it. Drilling is now happening in Kenyan ground and its being done on a massive scale. Geothermal power uses underground water and steam which has been super-heated by volcanic activity to produce electricity.
Geothermal power production uses the heat from deep in the ground to provide a clean, reliable source of energy. The high temperatures found deep in the earth’s core are believed to be from heat left over from when the earth was formed. These temperatures are transferred closer to the surface by volcanic activity. Water in the ground beneath the volcano becomes very hot and forms a reservoir of geothermal fluid, trapped at high pressure. With high pressure, steam can form. Minerals surrounding the geothermal fluid can become dissolved, adding salts to the fluid, which is why it is often referred to as brine. The geothermal fluids are pumped to a power plant, where steam is separated from the brine fluids. The steam is passed through turbines that turn generators which produce the electricity. The electricity is exported to the electricity network and supplied to Kenyan homes and businesses. This process of extracting pressure and then creating electricity out of it will potentially what brings a massive chunk of Africans out of the dark ages and into the 21st century.
With many African countries on the continent not producing oil or other natural resources, geothermal electricity creation will be what helps those countries to survive and prosper. So let’s hope the Kenyan government can really get behind these geothermal projects and continue to help Africans prosper.
By Alex Mitchison