Voith Technology Group modernizing the Wanjii small hydropower plant in Kenya

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Voith group is replacing Wanjii small hydro power plant’s generators, control technology as well as the electro-mechanical equipment. The modernization activity is scheduled for completion in mid-2019 and is expected to increase the power plant output by around 20 percent.

The significant increase in performance will be the key determining factor as outlined by KenGen, the plant operator and the leading electricity producer in Kenya.

The Voith’s modernization concept will also improve the plants energy balance with the reduced number of electrical consumers and also of priority will be the ease of maintenance such that in future, individual components can be replaced, if necessary with minimal effort.

The power plant technology replacement will also include equipping it with a remote controlled system. This will enable KenGen to regulate electricity generation from their headquarters in Nairobi.

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With an expected power output of 7.4 MW, the facility will be a good example of a decentralized energy supply in Africa. It is located around 80 kilometers to the northeast of the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

While the plant is operated by hydro power plants turbines and generators, the concept of running a centrifugal pump in reverse rotation mode, known as pumps as turbines (PaTs) concept, has been exploited, though to a limited degree, as a means of generating power in regions where purchasing hydro turbines is too expensive.

The process is an efficient method of generating energy as well as recovering energy and contributing to energy savings.

In the current world economic climate where reducing energy costs are becoming a high priority, PaTs concepts are starting to create significant interest and power producers such as KenGen should consider trying the technology.