Harnessing geothermal power

OLKARIA II POWER PLANT | Nakuru, Kenya

Geothermal power is just what it sounds like: taking heat from the earth and turning it into energy. On a total-lifecycle basis, this process emits only 5 percent of the carbon dioxide produced by coal-based energy, and only 6.5 percent of the resource's potential has been tapped worldwide. Kenya was the first African country to build geothermal power sources. In 2015, they had the eighth most installed geothermal capacity worldwide. By 2030, Kenya aims to source 26 percent of its electricity from geothermal power.

 

OLKARIA IV POWER PLANT | Nakuru, Kenya

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OLKARIA GEOTHERMAL FIELD

Nakuru, Kenya

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Menengai Power Plant

Under construction in Nakuru, Kenya

This geothermal well is under construction at the 35 MW Menengai Power Plant. When complete, the well will extract a mixture of hot water (over 450 °F) and steam to turn turbines and generate electricity. The first two images show the drilling rig during well construction. When construction is complete, in image three, the rig is replaced by pipes that will carry geothermal fluid to the generating facility. In the Menengai Crater, a series of well sites will eventually be linked to a central generating plant, in an arrangement similar to that seen in the Olkaria geothermal field, above.

Caroline Binley