Strathmore Energy Research Center SERC recently organized trainings on biogas. The trainings took place at the Strathmore Business School from 22nd to 26th May and were conducted in collaboration with SnowLeopard (a leading German company in biogas AD two stage projects), the Kenya Water Institute (KEWI), and the Kenya Industrial Research & Development Institute (KIRDI) and the Nordic Partner East Africa. The training was divided into two sessions with the third being a workshop. The first session entailed training of trainers aimed at building capacity for biogas training in the country.
The intensive one-week training covered an overview of the Kenyan biogas sector, (the market and regulations), the design, development, and operation of an AD two stage biogas plants including the chemical processes that take place in a biogas plant. The Training of Trainers concluded by a visit to the Keekonyokie Biogas production plant in Kiserian that uses waste from the slaughter house to generate biogas. The new trainers got first-hand experience in operating biogas plant and the challenges involved in running such a plant vis a vis the regulations.
The second session was carried out at KIRDI involving lab technicians. The session focused on the quality of substrate as the technicians were taken through several stages of testing the substrates used in biogas production. It was a very essential part of the training as most biogas plants installed in the country fail soon after installation because of lack of knowhow regarding the quality of substrate and the optimal way of operation. For this reason, the knowledge will go a long way in developing capacity for those operating biogas plants in order to ensure longevity of the projects.
The third session was a Biogas Workshop for stakeholders and renewable energy engineers that took place on 30th May at Strathmore.
The one-day workshop focused on sensitizing biogas stakeholders on the gains and opportunities of running the biogas plants efficiently. The workshop also provided a platform for the stakeholders to highlight the issues preventing upscaling of biogas as a major energy source in Kenya. Since the country started pursuing installation of biogas in the 1970s, there has been little success due to failure of most installed systems with the most recent being the Biogas Plant at Nyongara Slaughter in Dagoretti. The findings of the workshop widely acknowledged that technical capacity was to blame for the failure of most biogas systems in the country. There were also hindrances in terms of regulations that affected the operation especially of commercial plants given the availability of PPA with the government. The way forward entails building capacity through training on the technical operation of the plants as well as pushing for favorable regulatory environment to enhance commercialization of biogas plants.