Visionary Green Energy Project in Rwanda: 76-MW Power Plant with 19 MWM TCG 2032B V16 Gas Engines
Mannheim, July 27, 2021
Lake Kivu in Rwanda—a body of water about five times the size of Lake Constance—forms the basis for an unusual nationwide energy supply project. The lake with its surface of 2,400 km² and a depth of 480 m hosts large methane deposits that can be used for eco-friendly energy generation purposes. To realize this plan, 2019 saw the construction launch of one of Rwanda’s largest power plants, which is to supply the landlocked country with energy. The power plant runs with 19 high-performance gas engines of the type MWM TCG 2032B V16. The power plant is projected to go live in early 2022.
Use of Methane for Energy Generation Protects Environment
According to estimates of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), some 300 km³ of carbon dioxide and 50 to 70 km³ of methane are dissolved in Lake Kivu. Methane—the main component of natural gas—is a key fossil energy source. The colorless and odorless gas in the lake can always escape to the surface in an uncontrolled manner, which not only harms the environment and contributes to global warming, but also represents an acute danger for humans. Scientists and businesses want to harness the gas hazard from Lake Kivu before disaster strikes—and produce power from the gas.
The MWM TCG 2032B V16 gas engines transform the methane gas, which is harmful to the environment, into useful green electrical energy. “In this way, our gas engines greatly contribute to the reduction of climate-damaging methane gas, while at the same time producing clean energy”, explains Tim Scott, Director for MWM.
The gas-water mixture is transported up to the surface of the lake through pipes. At the surface, the methane is processed in scrubbing towers. In this way, the gas is upgraded for the energy generation, enabling the extraction of even more electrical energy. The carbon dioxide is sent back down to the depths of the lake.
Methane from Lake Kivu Sufficient for About 50 Years of Green Energy Generation
The amount of methane in Lake Kivu is estimated to be sufficient to supply Rwanda with energy for several decades. According to the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) of the ETH, 55 km³ of methane that can be transformed into power are worth some $20 billion, based on today’s energy prices. “We are pleased to be able to deliver a significant contribution to this sustainable, extraordinary energy project with our MWM gas engines, thereby supporting Rwanda’s economic growth”, says Tim Scott.
MWM has already rolled out various visionary energy projects for innovative heat and power supply that go beyond conventional energy generation. For example, the largest subterranean urban power plant in the UK with its two MWM TCG 2032 V16 gas engines supplies the local distribution grid of the financial and business center London with energy.
Another example is the Augsburg sewage treatment plant, which uses three MWM TCG 2020 gas engines to produce power from more than 800 households. Thanks to the high level of efficiency of the MWM gas engines, the efficient operation, and the optimum energy management, the Augsburg sewage treatment plant is one of Europe’s top wastewater treatment plants, both in terms of its overall effectiveness (power consumption per population equivalent) and in terms of its degree of self-sufficiency (ratio of power produced to power consumed).
MWM TCG 2032B V16 for Maximum Reliability
The MWM TCG 2032 gas engines are custom-tailored to the challenges of a dynamic market setting. In the output range from 3,000 to 4,500 kWel, they deliver high reliability, flexibility, efficiency, and eco-friendliness along with low life-cycle costs. In this way, they fulfill the elevated standards of a wide application spectrum, while boasting a high level of profitability. More than 740 power gensets of this series with an output of approximately 2,850,000 kWel have already been installed around the globe.
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