UNIDO and Japan taps IoT technology to improve operations at geothermal power station in Kenya
With funding from the Government of Japan, and in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Government of Kenya, and the Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC (KenGen), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) launched its “Strengthening Capacity for Operation and Maintenance with Internet of Things (IoT) Technologies for Olkaria Geothermal Power Station in Kenya” project.
The IoT project is fully aligned with the National Development Programme of the Republic of Kenya as outlined in the Kenya Vision 2030 as well as with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and especially SDG7 on affordable and clean energy as well as SDG 9 on industry, innovation, and infrastructure.
Overall, the IoT project aims to install and demonstrates the effectiveness of the IoT technology at the Olkaria geothermal power station, in conjunction with the provision of awareness raising and technical trainings. The project will further centralize, accumulate, and analyze operational data at a data centre equipped with specialized servers as well as collection and transmission systems.
“The data collected and stored by the IoT system will help us make informed decisions on the maintenance we need to carry out”, said Eng. Harrison Keter, acting operations manager at KenGen. “It will also help us to project the needs we require in the near future”.
Despite the unforeseeable, multiple challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic during the project’s implementation phase, the installation of the IoT technology was successfully concluded and the designated staff at KenGen were able to complete the associated trainings. In addition, based on the assets already provided by the project, JICA will provide advanced capacity building programmes to further enhance the operations and maintenance (O&M) at the power station.
“We are glad that we could help KenGen make significant progress toward sustainability by providing a digital transformation solution for integrated remote performance management”, said Koji Nakaoka, Vice President and Head of the Energy and Sustainability Business, and Global Sales at Yokogawa, the IoT solution provider. “The solution not only optimizes maintenance and maximizes power generation efficiency, it also ensures a stable supply of power”.
The experience and knowledge gained through the IoT project will inform other power plants as well as the wider industry sector - in the country and beyond - on the opportunities afforded by innovative technologies to address efficiency- and productivity-related constraints.
The application of IoT technology is spreading rapidly across industrial sectors as these innovations enable the digital connection of devices, the exchange of information, and the control of processes leading to various benefits including increased efficiency and productivity as well as reduced operation and maintenance costs.