Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

‘Killer’ lake generates power for Rwanda

Rwanda is to develop an integrated gas-extraction and electricity-generation facility at Lake Kivu to neutralise the ”killer lake” and generate power, officials said.

Lakes Nyos and Monoun in Cameroon and Lake Kivu are often referred to by some writers as ”killers” because they contain large quantities of methane gases, which could erupt, posing grave danger to surrounding communities.

According to Charles Nyirahuku, head of the Rwandan Methane Gas Project, the massive pool of methane in Lake Kivu’s bed has induced a steady rise in carbon dioxide and gas levels in recent years.

The gases pose a danger to local fishing communities and up to two million people who live around the lake in both Rwanda and neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

This week Rwanda signed a US$325-million agreement with US-based energy firm Contour Global to extract the gas and generate up to 100MW of power for Rwanda as well as neighbouring countries.

”Extracting the gas greatly mitigates the environmental hazards associated with a natural release of the lake gases and provides an environmentally friendly and sustainable source of power generation,” the company said.

Several attempts have been made to extract the gas. Since the 1980s a pilot methane gas power project had been supplying power to nearby state-owned Bralirwa Brewery, but it closed in 2004.

In 2002 a volcanic eruption at Mount Nyirangongo, near the lake, spilled over into Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu, killing dozens of people.

The lava spilled into the lake, raising fears that it could ignite the methane. —Irin

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Hawkish Reserve Bank sees South Africa edge towards a rates...

Analysts say the Reserve Bank could start tightening monetary policy as early as next month

Coko vs S ruling: The case against a subjective test...

Acting judge Tembeka Ngcukaitobi’s acquittal of a rape suspect has raised controversy, but legal experts say the fault lay with legislators and not the court

More top stories

Hawkish Reserve Bank sees South Africa edge towards a rates...

Analysts say the Reserve Bank could start tightening monetary policy as early as next month

Lucas Radebe: ‘My football career began behind my parents’ back’

Soccer legend Lucas ‘Rhoo’ Radebe is a busy man, but he made time in his hectic schedule to speak to Ntombizodwa Makhoba about his fondest childhood memories, how his soccer career began, and, as a father of eight, his legacy

Coko vs S ruling: The case against a subjective test...

Acting judge Tembeka Ngcukaitobi’s acquittal of a rape suspect has raised controversy, but legal experts say the fault lay with legislators and not the court

Defend journalists and media freedom in Eswatini

Journalists are censored through cruel and illegitimate detention, torture and the removal of means to disseminate information to citizens crying – and dying – for it
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×