Geothermal energy to power cement factory in Kenya

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  • In November 2023, Kenya’s state owned Geothermal Development Company (GDC) signed a 25-year deal to supply cement manufacturer Karsan Ramji and Sons Limited (KRSL) with steam and brine.
  • GDC has now appointed geothermal consulting and engineering company, Italy’s Steam Srl, to act as Owners Engineer for the project.

Through Steam Srl system design, KRSL is able to apply the steam both to a cement material drying unit and a new 4-MW power unit. The system will supply power to the new manufacturing facility located  approximately 6km distance from GDC’s well in the Menengai Caldera.

In the deal, GDC will provide Karsan Ramji with 40 tons per hour of geothermal steam to be used for power generation and the heat to dry during cement production.

Matteo Quaia, CEO of Steam, expressed his enthusiasm for Steam’s role in Kenya’s burgeoning geothermal market. “Steam is a central part of geothermal development projects in Kenya,” Quaia said.

Mennengai 35MW geothermal plant under construction. Image credit: GDC

“Most recently we’ve assisted with implementation of 35 MWs for Menengai and 240 MWs for Olkaria, plus another 380 in plant upgrading projects. We’re there to follow our mission of giving “life” to geothermal projects and we’re grateful for the opportunity to show the world the advantages of using all parts of the geothermal spectrum.”

In addition to being the first plant cement plant in the world to incorporate the direct use of geothermal steam, this is the first instance in Kenya of an industrial player seeking to generate its own power using geothermal steam. GDC is targeting more revenue from its fields on the Menengai Crater floor through the sale of steam to industries that rely on power to fuel their heating process.

Paul Ngugi, CEO of GDC, expressed his satisfaction with the project’s approach. “This engagement opens new investment frontiers around the geothermal ecosystem. We are expanding the geothermal pie, making it accessible and profitable.”

“This model is the future of geothermal. We are optimistic that more investors will find value by emulating this approach,” further added Ngugi.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal


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