Kenya: Flower waste can generate energy

A preliminary report to establish whether using flower waste can generate energy has yielded positive results. Speaking on Friday 12th July 2013 at Simbi Roses in Thika, one of the two farms participating in a pilot project initiated by the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum in November 2010, Engineer Peter Gichohi, a biogas consultant said that although it was too early to make a conclusive report, a ton of foliage can produce up to 80 cubic metres of biogas. The other participating farm, PJ Dave in Isinya, is producing 100 Kilo Watts of electricity per day.

The two projects are operating at between 60-63 per cent of their load capacity, with power generated being used to power water pumping generators and spraying, Engineer Gichohi said. Carbon dioxide generated in the process is directed back into the greenhouses while effluent from the digester is used as organic fertiliser.

Mr Gichohi points out that the preliminary findings have been collected over the past two months and it requires about twelve months to come up with reliable data to guide the future development of this project. “The results are very encouraging”, he told representatives of the Kenya Flower Council (KFC), among them CEO Jane Ngige, Andrew McDonnel of Finlays, Isabell Spindler of Redlands Roses, Morris Wahome of Mosi Flowers and Joseph Mureithi of Suera Flowers.

Mrs Ngige said that this was the feasibility stage, and findings from setting it up (the project) will be used to determine whether to recommend it to other flower farms. Ngige also said the project will then add to the flower industry carbon pool.

Simbi Roses general manager Jefferson Karue said they are comparing May 2013 onward power bills with those of a similar period last year, now that they are using energy from the project to determine how much they are saving in overall electricity costs, and this information will be share as part of the full report on the viability of generating energy from flower farm waste.


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