At depths below 75 meters (246 feet),
massive amounts of gas are dissolved into the water in layers,
as in a bottle of carbonated water -
an estimated 65 cubic kilometers of methane and 256 cubic kilometers of carbon dioxide.
What makes the lake so dangerous is the so-called champagne effect.
LAKE KIVU CHAMPAGNE EFFECT
When an earthquake, a powerful storm or lava flows from the surrounding volcanoes
churn up the upper layers, water from the depths can reach the upper level.
Then gas escapes in much the same way as when
a bottle of champagne is shaken and then opened.
To Orwell Today,
re: HARNESS LAKE KIVU POWER
After having looked through your website containing extensive information regarding the Lake Kivu energy project, I write to you in the hope of some guidance. I am currently Studying an MSc in Environmental Sustainability at Edinburgh University, and I have been very interested in this subject for some time now. I am hoping to write my thesis on the Methane extraction project and the various ways that this will contribute to the sustainable development of communities in Rwanda. I was wondering if you have knowledge of any organisations or academics/experts that could act as a starting point to my inquiries, or with the ideal eventuality that I can find someone in the field to work under. I would greatly appreciate any help in this area!
I just now found an excellent article on the Lake Kivu methane gas project containing very interesting info (and diagrams) explaining the latest developments. It also contains names of people you could possibly contact for direction on your studies in that field:
A Dangerous Treasure in Africa's Lake Kivu, by Simone Schlindwein, Spiegel, Dec 23, 2008
There is a wealth of methane trapped in a lake in the heart of Africa. Engineers hope to transform the gas from the depths of the lake into electricity, but if it escapes in an uncontrolled manner, the methane would cause a catastrophe....
At depths below 75 meters (246 feet), massive amounts of gas are dissolved into the water in layers, as in a bottle of carbonated water - an estimated 65 cubic kilometers of methane and 256 cubic kilometers of carbon dioxide. What makes the lake so dangerous is the so-called champagne effect.
When an earthquake, a powerful storm or lava flows from the surrounding volcanoes churn up the upper layers, water from the depths can reach the upper level. Then gas escapes in much the same way as when a bottle of champagne is shaken and then opened....
Since April, engineers on a research team headed by French physicist Michel Halbwachs have been welding and screwing together a floating platform only a few hundred meters from Muhizi's beach bar. A black tube attached to the platform extends down into the waters of Kivu. The tube is supposed to act like a straw, and gas is expected to begin bubbling out of the lake soon. The escaping gas will make a hissing noise and shoot up out of the lake, forming a small fountain.
Engineers eventually hope to use the combustible gas to drive turbines, but they are under pressure to act. About a kilometer from the shore, a competing mechanism, similar to an oil-drilling platform, already protrudes from the water. Methane production began at this platform a few days ago, but it's not functioning properly yet. "Growing pains," says the Israeli engineer who operates the system on behalf of the Rwandan government. "Shut it down!" he shouts into his telephone.
Electricity production is scheduled to begin in January, when the two pilot projects will feed a total of nine megawatts into the power grid. This will be just a first step for an African country that has almost no energy resources of its own. All power plants in the country produce a total output of only 50 megawatts, derived from hydroelectric power and imported diesel. It's not even enough to keep one light bulb lit in every household in Rwanda....[end quoting]
Thanks for letting me know the info in the HARNESS LAKE KIVU POWER section of the website has been helpful.
All the best,
To Orwell Today,
Very many thanks for putting the email up onto the website.
Thank you for your efforts,
Rwanda explores ways of boosting its energy needs (construction work for a 27.5 MW hydro power plant has begun)
by Kezio-Musoke David, Kenya East African, Jan 10, 2009
According to the country’s State Minister for Energy Albert Butare, the project, which will cost $99.7 million — will also force the government to spend $7.3 million in relocating about 4,200 people in Ngororero, Karongi and Muhanga districts. Rwanda, which is also assessing the potential of geothermal and wind energy power production, is currently facing an energy deficit. Though electricity supply is currently stable without any significant load-shedding, only 10.2 per cent of the country’s households are connected to the national grid. Only 6 per cent of Rwanda’s population is connected to electricity and the country projects that by 2020, at least 35 per cent of the population will be connected while the consumption of wood will decrease from the current 94 per cent to 50 per cent of national energy consumption. According to Electrogaz, the utility institution in charge of distribution of electricity, power supply only reaches around 110,000 clients, including 70,000 households. Electrogaz statistics show that 70 per cent of the energy is consumed in the capital, Kigali.
The construction of the 27.5 MW hydropower plant is one of the specific strategic interventions that are currently being developed to increase access to electricity through extension of the national grid and the setting up of isolated grids from micro-hydro plants and decentralised energy sources such as solar energy. The country is targeting to increase connections by 65 per cent from 70,000 to 350,000 households by 2012. The government also projects to connect about 300 administrative centres and service delivery points such as 1,000 schools and 180 health centres countrywide by the stipulated period. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, while releasing its Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategic projections last year, said the overall target of the government is to increase the total capacity from 45 MW to 130 MW by 2012. The Lake Kivu methane gas reserve project is expected to produce 30 MW of energy by the end of this month....
John Milenge, managing director of Electrogaz, said recently that 86 per cent of Rwanda’s energy sources emanates from biomass, whereas 11 per cent is from hydrocarbons and 3 per cent is principally sourced from electricity power. About 42 per cent of the electricity in Rwanda is produced by diesel generators. On the other hand, 55 per cent of national electric energy is produced from hydropower sources. This equals an installed capacity of 42.8 MW. The national hydro power plants have been rehabilitated and water level management has improved to reach almost the maximum production capacity. Rwanda is currently importing around 12 MW from Sinalec, a regional tripartite power producer involving parties from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The government is implementing a planned increase in generating capacity from 60MW of installed capacity to 165 MW by 2012 for domestic production. Some of the projects include 26 MW from micro hydropower plants and 20 MW from a heavy fuel oil plant which commenced in December 2008. Already, some 250KW generated from the Kigali solar plant are already operational.
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