Amb. María Erla Marelsdóttir said this when she paid a courtesy call to Eng. Johnson Ole Nchoe, the Managing Director and CEO of Geothermal Development Company (GDC) at his Kawi House Office, in Nairobi.
“I’m glad that Kenya and Iceland have collaborated widely on the geothermal development. I see this collaboration taken to a notch higher with my posting to the country. We know there is a lot that Iceland will also learn from the Kenyan geothermal scene,” said the ambassador.
She also announced that Iceland will fund the design and construction of a cereals and tea drier at the cost of 700,000 euros. The driers will use direct heat from geothermal fluids. In this arrangement, GDC will contribute 10 percent of the cost in kind.
Iceland through the Iceland International Development Agency (ICEIDA) has been on the forefront of supporting geothermal development in Kenya. “Since 1979, the government of Iceland has been supporting the UNU-GTP program where 109 Kenyan scientists and engineers have undergone various training on geothermal technology,” noted Ole Nchoe.
Furthermore, ICEIDA funded the feasibility study for the Africa Geothermal Centre of Excellence. This center will provide opportunity for capacity building of geothermal experts in Africa. GDC will run the center at its Nakuru regional base.
Iceland is one of the leading countries in the world with advanced geothermal technology. 95 percent of its heating needs come from geothermal. The ambassador and the CEO jointly noted that Kenya’s geothermal scene is becoming vibrant by the day and therefore a need for continuous engagement between the two countries. The ambassador explained that Kenya will gain a great deal of technological transfer from Iceland’s established direct uses of geothermal energy.
Currently, GDC is running a pilot on four projects at its Menengai site – milk pasteurization, laundry, geothermal heated aqua ponds, and geothermal heated green house.
Meanwhile, currently ICEIDA is supporting GDC in the ISO 17025 Laboratory Management System accreditation. Several GDC scientists are already undergoing ISO training.
Welcome to the Africa Geothermal Centre of Excellence
GDC has setup the African Geothermal Centre of Excellence (AGCE). The Institute offers courses on all facets of geothermal technology including but not limited to drilling engineering, Geosciences (including Geology, Geochemistry, and geophysics), reservoir engineering, environmental management, HSE, steam-field management, project management and power plant engineering. The activities are aimed at building capacity for geothermal development in Africa. GDC already has a pool of experienced human resource in all areas of geothermal development and utilization. The Institute collaborates with the regional industry players and universities.