Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has received an order from the Kenya Electricity Generating Company to build a 35MW geothermal power generation plant, the third unit at the company's Olkaria II geothermal power station.
The new plant at the Olkaria II power station, which is located approximately 100 kilometres northwest of Nairobi, is slated to go on-stream at the end of December 2009.
The plant on order will consist of a steam turbine, condenser, generator, peripheral equipment, electrical facilities and a control system. MHI's Nagasaki Shipyard and Machinery Works will be responsible for the design, manufacture, installation and civil engineering work. Mitsubishi Electric will supply the generator.
MHI has already supplied five geothermal power plants to KenGen: three units (15MW each) for Olkaria I that went on-stream in the 1980s and two units (35MW each) for Olkaria II that were completed in 2003.
Geothermal power generation uses geothermal fluid, a mixture of high-temperature water and steam (over 250°C, or 482°F) extracted from deep underground reservoirs through production wells. The steam extracted from the fluid is used to rotate steam turbines.
Outside Japan, MHI has delivered geothermal plants to 13 countries worldwide, including Kenya, the US, Iceland and Costa Rica. Their collective power output is about 3,000MW.
Kenya presently obtains more than 75 per cent of its entire power supply from hydropower generation, but the country has plans to promote more geothermal projects.