Gallery: Rwanda Taps Volcanic “Exploding Lake” for Power

 

Photo by Julien Harneis

Rwanda is harnessing the natural gas in one of three known “exploding lakes” to generate electricity in a nation where just 1 in 14 houses has access to power. The technology will boost the African nation’s economy while also mitigating the danger of lake overturn, in which huge clouds of carbon dioxide are released, suffocating everyone in their midst.

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  1. Kim Novak August 6, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    The story is relevant but unfortunately too superficial to even add value to the real debate. The saga of Lake Kivu is decades old and has been extensively studied by local authorities and international institutions like EAWAG from Switzerland. An expert group was appointed including these academics as well as engineers. Their findings are published and will form the regulatory basis for gas extraction from the lake, in a way that minimises the threat of a gas eruption in the future. Developers are advised to use designs that produce power and only release a necessary minimum of gas to atmosphere to mitigate the danger of eruption. Some developers can, and some cannot. Unfortunately the authorities have no had the know-how and political will to sort good from bad developers and the result could be lighting the fuse of a catastrophic eruption. ContourGlobal may be the worst offender thus far.

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