The Centre of Excellence Section is composed of Geothermal Training Centre, Geomatics, Information Science, and Research and Consultancy sub-sections. The Section coordinates research and consultancy services and offers support services such as survey, cartography, GIS, and Information Management services.
Geothermal Training Centre
The Training Centre is domicile within Olkaria Geothermal Development Division with the mandate of facilitating capacity building for staff in Olkaria geothermal project as well as other KenGen operation areas. The GTC was inaugurated on July 10, 1989 for drilling operation staff through sponsorship by Petro-Canada International Corporation.
However, the Centre has grown into offering other trainings including geosciences, basic computer skills, environmental sciences, geothermal technology, safety, management skills and drilling technology.
Currently KenGen is utilizing the GTC services at Olkaria in training staff in Olkaria and other areas and offering internships for students from local and international Universities.
KenGen-Geothermal Training Centre is one of the five Regional Flagship TVET institutes under the Government of Kenya initiative and World Bank offering specialized skills that are market driven for industry. Under the project, GTC will offer courses in the energy sector which include geothermal, oil and gas, hydro, wind and solar.
Geomatics sub-section provides survey, cartography and GIS services to the company, and other organizations. The section has state of the art equipment such as total station, Geodetic GPS Surveying system and modern ammonia printing machine. Data processing is computerized.
This is coupled with well trained and experienced staff and has been key towards geothermal development in Kenya as well as consulting for other institutions in the region. KenGen has qualified and experienced GIS/Geomatics expertise in engineering and cadastral survey, topographical mapping, GIS and remote sensing, geospatial data acquisition, analysis, processing, interpretation and presentation.
The services offered include precision surveys like horizontal and vertical deformation monitoring of fields under production, training on use of GIS applications, establishment of coordinated control networks, boundary survey, engineering surveys & drawings and maps production.
The Information Science sub-section is responsible for information management within the project.
The services offered include classification, cataloguing and circulation, conservation and preservation of information materials, records appraisal and newsletter writing and publishing.
Leveraging on the experience and expertise in successfully operating geothermal power plants for many years, KenGen is capable of offering the following services:-
- Installation and commissioning of electric motor driven pumps; cooling tower facilities, and electrical installations
- Coupling and alignment of turbines and generators
- Maintenance and plant management of geothermal steam field facilities
- Mechanical plant and instrumentation including turbine inspection and overhaul
- Maintenance of air compressors and pneumatic systems
- Maintenance of electrical plant and protection systems
- Generator tests and stator rewinding , transformer tests and oil regeneration
- Cooling towers-structure-member corrosion monitoring and maintenance
- Mechanical workshop services-machining, welding and sheet metal works
Geothermal Consultancy Projects Undertaken
KenGen has undertaken a number of projects for other institutions regionally and internationally. They include the following:-
- Detailed geoscientific study of Barrier Volcanic Complex (BVC - use of the techniques of geology, geophysics and geochemistry to develop a geothermal conceptual model of Barrier Volcanic Complex for siting target wells for drilling in 2019.
- KenGen in consortium with Shandong Kerui petroleum Equipment Company Limited and Shandong Kerui Oilfield Service Company limited was awarded a contract in 2019 by the Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) for the supply of drilling rigs and its accessories as well as rig operation and maintenance for drilling geothermal wells at Aluto, Langano in Ethiopia.
- Hydrogeological survey for ground water mapping and assessment in Wajir County using geophysical methods in 2018/2019.
- Onsite Geological Consultation and Mud Logging in Djibouti- with Iceland GeoSurvey (ISOR) in 2018-2019
- Geoscientific Investigations for AKIIRA an Independent Power Producer in 2019
- Drilling services and water supply for AKIIRA an Independent Power Producer in 2017
- Well tests measurements for OrPower4, Inc, an Independent Power Producer.
- Geoscientific Investigations of the Kapisya and Chinyunyu Geothermal Fields, Zambia
- Geophysical investigations in Djibouti
- Geoscientific Investigations in the Comoros
- Geoscientific Investigations in Rwanda
- Geoscientific Investigations in Lake Magadi area (for Magadi Soda Company)
- Geoscientific Investigations in Sudan (Northern)
- Reconnaissance survey in the Comoros in 2008
- Seismic Refraction and multichannel analysis of surface waves (MASW) surveys for Sogea Satom Company
- Geoscientific services to GDC, Ministry of Energy and Oserian
- Topographical survey in Uganda
- Geoscientific studies in Rwanda- with Iceland GeoSurvey (ISOR)
- Geoscientific studies in Uganda- through Geothermal Drilling Systems International
- Geoscientific studies in Mbeya region of Tanzania through Geothermal Drilling Systems International
- Resistivity work in Yemen
The research sub-section coordinates research and collaborations in the division. KenGen cooperates with national and international institutions in carrying out important research on various aspects of geothermal development. Some of the areas of cooperation have included:-
- 1.Geothermal exploration
Refining geothermal exploration via geochemical modelling of young volcanic centres in the Kenya Rift. The research was done in collaboration between KenGen and the University of Texas at El Paso, USA and funded by NSF for the period 2001-2003.
- 2.Geothermal Reservoir Management
Use of stable isotopes in geothermal reservoir management in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Funded by IAEA.
- 3.Joint Geophysical Imaging (JGI)
Research into the use of combined MT, TEM and seismology in refining the exploration for geothermal reservoirs. Project was funded by UNEP/GEF and implemented in collaboration with Duke University, USA 2002-2005.
- 4.Hydrogeology of the Lake Naivasha area
A cooperative venture between KenGen, the Lake Naivasha Riparian Association and ITC, Netherlands in research on the hydrology of the Lake Naivasha basin.
- 5.ARGeo Project
KenGen is a member of the African Rift Geothermal Project (ARGEO), which is funded by UNEP/ GEF with the aim of promoting the development of geothermal resources in Africa.
- 6.Other areas of Collaboration
KenGen has continued to collaborate with local universities, the United Nations University as well as other government departments in research and training in such areas as environment, geology and hydrogeology and sustainability of use of Lake Naivasha. Some of the Institutions with which KenGen has collaborated with include Moi University School of Environmental Studies, Egerton University, University of Nairobi Institute of Nuclear Science, Ministry of Energy Department of Geothermal, Kenyatta University, Dedan Kimathi University, Kabarak University, University of Potsdam and recently with Association of Power Utilities of Africa (APUA).
Areas of research and collaboration currently being pursued include:-
- Assessment of suitability of Bentonite deposits in Meru and Isiolo as geothermal wells drilling mud.
- Use of brine for geothermal well cementing.
- Conversion of power station blowdown into potable water.
- Use of geothermal brine for rehabilitation.
- Use of geothermal brine for fish farming.
- Use of brine for horticulture.
- Use of geothermal steam for cooling.
- Modification of silencers.
- Design of Improved Well Testing Facility and Commercial Heat Exchanger - Grant of about 9 million from National Council of Science and Technology.
- Increasing Efficiency in the Utilization of Brine to run a Binary Power Plant.
- Pre-cast Pre-stressed Concrete Pavement (PPCP).
- Use of Modern Survey Techniques in Optimization of Geothermal Power Harvest.
- Real Time Relaying of Geothermal Information and Data Directly from the Field to Computer Server using GSM and GPRS Technologies of Mobile Mapping and GIS.
- Improvement of Cooling Towers in Olkaria I.
- Investigating the Possibility of Harnessing Gravitational Energy using an Actuating Lever Arm Mechanism.
- Designing & Fabrication of Aluminum Sheet Rolling and Aluminum Ridge Making Machines.
- Sustainability of Lake Naivasha.
- Well testing facility, commercial heat exchanger, and gas abatement.
- Remote management of water levels in tanks at Olkaria.
- Assessment of cooling circuit water to control acid erosion, elemental sulphur deposition and microbiological fouling: case study of Olkaria II
- Precipitation chemistry and air quality monitoring associated with geothermal operations