13-06-2017 05:00 AM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream
Lake Kivu in Africa which has billions of cubic metres of methane and carbon dioxide due to volcanic activity is being harnessed to produce power that can be supplied to two African countries
Lake Kivu is one of Africa's great lakes that borders two countries - Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is in the Albertine Rift and empties into the Ruzizi River.
Geologists have found evidence of massive biological extinctions about every thousand years, presumably caused by outgassing events around this freshwater lake. Exploding lakes have varying gaseous chemical compositions which are unique to each lake.
In the case of Lake Kivu, scientists have found a high amount of methane and carbon dioxide which they attribute to the lake water's interaction with a volcano.
60 billion cubic metres of methane and 300 billion cubic metres of carbon dioxide is found to be dissolved in its water due to volcanic activity and decomposing organic matter.
If the gases continue to expand, it might lead to an eruption. Now, methane from the lake is used to produce electricity. This not only helps to provide power to Rwanda and Congo but also helps to prevent the feared eruption.
Until 2004, extraction of the gas was done on a small scale, with the extracted gas being used to run boilers at the Bralirwa brewery in Gisenyi. Thr Rwandan government had negotiated with a number of parties for the large scale exploitation of methane from the lake.
Subsequently, Kivuwatt, a large scale methane extraction plant was set up. This project increased Rwanda's energy generation capability manifold and it will enable Rwanda to sell electricity to neighboring African countries
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