Lake Kivu, Rwanda
This power plant will utilize naturally occurring methane gas from Lake Kivu to generate electricity via Wärtsilä 34SG engines. Total output will be 25 MW. By reducing gas levels in the lake while, at the same time, providing additional power generating capacity, both environmental and economic targets can be met. This is the first time that Lake Kivu’s methane gas will be used to fuel a power plant of this size.
The plant will be powered by 20-cylinder Wärtsilä 34SG gas engines, and is expected to be operational during the third quarter of 2012. Future planned expansions to this project will increase the output by an additional 75 MW.
Lake Kivu, located on the border between Rwanda and the democratic Republic of Congo, contains high concentrations of methane gas. Studies have predicted that a saturation point will eventually be reached that could lead to a catastrophic gas release. Extraction of the gas has thus the potential to both mitigate the risks of dangerous eruptions and provide substantial energy reserves. The actual extraction of the gas from the lake, however, is not included within Wärtsilä’s contractual scope.
Rwanda urgently needs additional electricity generating capacity, so this project can meet both economic and environmental targets. The order has been placed by KivuWatt Ltd, a subsidiary of the New York based international power company, ContourGlobal. The power plant will supply electricity to Rwanda’s national utility.