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Rwanda: Methane-extraction project could power up Great Lakes region

A landmark gas-extraction project will be rolled out later this year, which aims to produce cheap power by economically and profitably extracting methane from Lake Kivu, which lies between Rwanda and the DRC.
The plant was designed to process water from over 300 m deep in the lake, a statement from the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) said on Tuesday.

Local investors had, so far, only managed to generate $6-million, while the total project was expected to be cost about $17-million.

The Nepad Business Foundation project plans to have first commercial production for late 2007, and provides an opportunity to generate all the Great Lakes region’s power needs, the organisation said.

Three standard-size gas plants would provide more than sufficient gas to fuel 850 000 households out of a country with over 1 750 000 households, or at least 50% of the population of Rwanda.

Pilot plant testing, carried out between January and May 2004, showed that 200% more gas could be extracted with the production module at up to three times the depth previously considered possible.

The initial distribution system for domestic gas would be installed as a pilot project to demonstrate the efficacy of domestic gas, Nepad said.

In the longer term, it was hoped that the pilot project would be replicated through hundreds of towns and villages as more gas became available from more production plants.

The natural gas produced by the first-installed production plant can produce at least 60% of Rwanda’s current peak power needs, the organisation said.

The Rwandese government was not in a financial position to assist in funding the project.

Additional information:
News date: 24/04/2007

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