Africa: Alternative Energy Kenya: Wind Micropower
Approtec's Xtrabike project in Kenya in Collaboration with XAccess
AllAfrica.com reports that Kenyan duo Philip Osula and Mwacharo Guyo have installed wind-powered electricity generators in various homes in Nairobi, Mandera, Olengurueni and Taita in the last three years.
A beneficiary of the technology, Jeff Odera, a research scientist living in Nairobi, says he has found the technology reliable and cheaper than using a diesel generator. "It is silent, has less maintenance cost, is reliable, and no fuel is used," says Odera.
Converted to the technology two years ago, Odera says it has served his household well. "I use it for lighting and other household appliances like fridge, computer, television, and radio among others."
Using a simple dynamo-like appliance, the technicians coil a coated wire around a revolving magnet, which induces an alternating current into the wires once it starts rotating. "We make the turbines using waste material which includes wood and fibreglass, which makes them light for easy rotation by wind," explains Osula.
"To maintain continuous current flow, the cables are connected to a bank of batteries which stores any extra power in form of direct current. It is then connected to an inverter which steps it up and transforms it back to alternating current to be used in times of low or no wind, explains Osula.
"The power needed in the rural homesteads is little, thus one generator could serve 10 households according to our research," he says.
With an average annual income of under US $400 it is estimated that 75 percent of citizens of this East African nation have no access to grid electricity due to high connectivity cost, the subsequent bills and maintenance costs.
An average generator dubbed 'wind cruiser' ranges in weight from 15 to 25 kilos (around 33lbs-55lbs), is 10 inches in diameter and has a tail which gets the optimum direction of the wind. It is able to produce three kilowatts of electric energy.
All Africa article on the use of Micro Wind Power in Kenya