The Resource Development & Infrastructure (RD&I) is one of the departments under the Geothermal Development Department (GDD). The department is endowed with highly skilled and dedicated staff (Scientists and Engineers) who have extensively undergone training (both locally and internationally) on the respective fields of specialization. Presently, there are six sections under RD & I department namely; Geology, Geophysics, Geochemistry, Environment, Quality and Liason, Infrastructure and Center of Excellence. The latter comprise of four sub-sections; Geomatics, Research and Consultancy, Information Services Unit and Geothermal Training Centre (GTC). The RD & I department is mandated to promote rapid development of geothermal resources in sync with the Company’s geothermal expansion programme. In addition, the department is tasked with promoting alternative uses of geothermal resources aside from electricity generation. Below is a snapshot of the roles performed by the various sections under RD&I department;
The Company has a well equipped Geochemistry Laboratory at the Olkaria Geothermal project. The Laboratory has analytical machines, which include an automatic Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer coupled with graphite furnace; a modern Gas Chromatrograph; an ion Chromatograph; and double beam UV- VIS Spectrophotometer; ICP Mass Spectrophotometer; among other bench analysis equipment.
The Geochemistry Team is involved in geothermal exploration surveys during which hydrothermal fluids are sampled. During the survey, radon and CO2 counts are also determined as possible indications of occurrence of geothermal resource.
Fumeroles sampling for geo-hazard monitoring
The Section also carries out discharge test, sampling, analysis and interpretation of drilling returns. The quality of steam entering the power plants is routinely checked. Steam samples collected at the drain pots of the moisture separators are analyzed for TDS, CL, and pH.
KenGen has a well-equipped Geology laboratory and well trained staff. The Geology Section responsibilities include surface exploration surveys, geothermal well logging, design and monitoring of drilling operations, development of geological models, and strategies for field development and management.
The laboratory has lapidary equipment for the preparation of thin and thick sections for petrographic and fluid inclusion studies respectively.
A computerized Siemens D5000 Diffractometer (XRD) is routinely used for analyzing oriented clay and mineral separates. The results from XRD data help in the evaluation of geothermal reservoir conditions including temperature, chemistry and permeability.
Geologist doing surface exploration
Geophysics team has expertise in geothermal exploration surveys using Magneto Telluric (MT), Transient Electro Magnetic (TEM), and gravity, seismic and magnetic techniques. The team is also active in monitoring of geothermal exploitation using gravity and seismic techniques to monitor for subsidence associated with abstraction or related to fluid re-injection.
The Geophysics Section undertakes geophysical investigations for geothermal resources that include various surface based exploration surveys for prospects delineation, reservoir assessments, and field management. The Company has modern geophysical equipment, which include a Transient Electromagnetic (TEM) instrument that has a high resolution for investigating conductivity structure of the top 1000M of subsurface, and a Magneto-Telluric (MT) equipment that is capable of collecting high resolution resistivity data up to 10,000M deep.
Resistivity data collection using MT Equipment
The Environmental, Safety & Liaison Section carries out environmental impact assessments, environmental audits, environmental education and monitoring of environmental impacts arising from geothermal development. The Section is also responsible for liaison with the local community on all aspects of mutual benefit.
The Section manages a tree nursery that raises various tree species for rehabilitation of disturbed areas like well pads and construction sites. Seedlings are also donated to neighbouring communities as part of social re-afforestation programme.
Monitoring of soils, air quality, water and vegetation is done. At Olkaria, all the liquid effluents are re-injected at depth to avoid mixing with the shallow water acquifers. Concentration of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) found in geothermal fluids is regularly monitored. However, the normal concentration level of H2S is below WHO exposure limits and, therefore, the rotten–egg smell due to the gas at Olkaria is more of a nuisance than a danger.
Tree nursery at Olkaria Geothermal ProjectKenGen & KWS Hell’s Gate National park clean up
The Geothermal Infrastructure Section is responsible for the preparation of well pads, access roads, rehabilitation of disturbed sites and water supply works.
KenGen maintains the heavy duty equipment comprising trucks, air compressors, bulldozers, wheel loaders, prime movers, haulage trucks, high lift pumps, hydraulic systems for cranes and other heavy duty lifting equipment.
Geomatics Subsection 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.
The Information Science Subsection is responsible for information management within the project.
Provides custody for all geothermal knowledge resources and literature through their library and archives. The sub-section also controls usage and dispensation of the knowledge resources and also provides relevant update information and news to the division e.g. energy news, internal weekly news via trails of ongoing project activities and update and acquisition of journals.