Rwanda Turns to Trapped Methane For Electricity, Growth

March 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

A project that aims to harvest energy from a potentially disastrous situation in Rwanda’s Lake Kivu aims to turn risk into reward, and bring much-needed power to a developing economy.

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Rwanda Turns to Trapped Methane For Electricity, Growth


One Comment on "Rwanda Turns to Trapped Methane For Electricity, Growth"

  1. George Nowak on Sun, 21st Mar 2010 1:01 pm 

    Seeing the spread of this Lake Kivu story among green blogs makes it look like a celebration of all that is good in green energy. ContourGlobal cleaning up the planet?

    From conversations with many involved on the lake, it seems that there is plenty misinformation or misunderstanding involved.

    Rwanda wants to develop Lake Kivu for its clean energy and to prevent it turning over and belching out billions of tons of carbon in the process. Getting the methane out of the lake can make this happen. Enter ContourGlobal with fanfare and aplomb to announce that they’re fixing the situation.

    I suspect that this is not entirely the case. ContourGlobal reputedly uses archaic technology which does not have the potential to clean up the lake. As much as 80% of the methane resource in the lake and most of the carbon dioxide will find its way into the atmosphere, directly and indirectly, rather than into power plants and other gas users.

    But worse is that the lake itself could be damaged beyond repair by methane extraction plants that are inefficient and fail to play by the new rules. These rules require that gas is extracted and used efficiently. They also require that companies such as CG contribute to public safety and the environment with what they do. But the plants planned by CG use 40-year old ideas on gas extraction which can’t comply with the rules.

    CG should explain how the natural balance and disaster protection of the lake can be maintained using these old ideas, because I believe that such methods are not permitted any more. The story goes that if the lake is seriously disturbed by mixing that it loses oxygen and potentially dies, leaving a bad smell and toxic gases erupting from the surface.

    At the huge scale planned by CG, will the lake survive as we know it?

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