Widespread use of geothermal energy in East Africa

Project summary

The project aims at providing the scientific, technological and policy basis required for the widespread utilization of geothermal resources in East Africa. We will provide the basis to evaluate the potential of low- and medium-temperature geothermal resources, and develop technological solutions for their use, providing sustainable and reliable energy (electricity and heating/cooling). Access to green, cheap energy will support the sustainable growth and decarbonization of the economy. Although the geothermal sector is well developed in Kenya for high-temperature sources, the utilization of low- and medium-temperature sources in the East Africa is mostly unexplored. The proposed solution for low- and medium-temperature reservoirs consists of a novel integration of multi-generation energy technologies that maximize conversion efficiencies while minimizing costs. We will explore the potential of selected reservoirs through integrated geoscientific studies, incorporating drilling, field and production data. A prototype plant at the Olkaria field (Kenya) will be constructed.

A training program for geothermal professionals will be developed, providing skills on well construction, subsurface and reservoir modeling, and advanced multi-generation systems. Industry partners will provide field-knowledge, end-user cases, and practical experience at the prototype plant. The collaboration with governmental organizations through UNEP Africa Office will support the development of clear, coherent and harmonized policy and regulatory frameworks, reducing associated risks of geothermal projects and facilitating the expansion of geothermal energy in EA.

The project contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and AU Agenda 2060: affordable and clean energy (Goal 7), industry, innovation and infrastructure (Goal 9), sustainable cities and communities (Goal 11), and climate action (Goal 13).


First year report:
The following activities have been carried out:
• A number of meetings have been completed: 1) Kick-off meeting; 2) Industry involvement meeting; 3) Data sharing meeting; 4) Prototype plant meeting; 5) Number of bilateral meetings between the legal advisers at DTU and the legal advisers at some of the project partners.
• Creation of project website.
• Development of a data management plan.
• Detailed review of data requirements for the assessment and modelling of geothermal resources (WP 2), design and modelling of multi-generation plants (WP 3), and available data and literature for possible configurations of multi-generation plants (WP 4).
• Development of models for the techno-economic analyses of different organic Rankine cycle architectures.
• Comparative analysis of two-phase expansion and sub-critical organic Rankine cycle systems for solar and geothermal applications.
• Presentation of project results at an international conference.
• Supervision of post-graduate student thesis.

The results have been disseminated in one peer-reviewed conference publication in proceedings, and one paper is accepted and one paper is under preparation for upcoming international conferences. The project activities have been disseminated by social media (e.g., LinkedIn, ResearchGate), the project website, DTU’s website, and through several articles published in Danish, African and international media. Moreover, we have initiated a cooperation with the Danish Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.

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