Power generation is one of the most significant challenges facing Sub-Saharan Africa and the shortage of essential electrical infrastructure often means that social and economic development can be negatively affected.
The repercussions of an inadequate power supply are felt by many in the region and particularly by business owners and farmers such as Agrocamin Cameroon, which is a leading poultry hatchery in the central African region.
Given the nature of poultry hatcheries, even a 30-minute power outage can cripple a business as all the eggs in the incubators would perish due to improper storage temperature control. Agrocam, located in Douala, previously used a diesel generator as a backup to ensure the smooth running of its hatchery, but this proved costly given the prolonged outages.
The company has now purchased a GE Jenbacher J316 gas engine from Clarke Energy, GE's distributor of Jenbacher gas engines in Cameroon. According to the International Energy Agency, natural gas will be the fastest growing fuel in use for power generation in Africa.
"GE's natural gas-fired Jenbacher engine will produce a nominal electrical output to power the hatchery and egg tray production facility, providing a highly efficient, economical solution to meet our needs and to realise substantial annual savings," said Philippe Noutchogouin, Agrocam managing director.
The Jenbacher J316 gas engine will produce 813Kw of power for Agrocam. Heat will be recovered from the generator's exhaust gases in the form of hot air and will be injected into the ovens of the egg tray production machines for drying. This will save the cost of fuel currently being used for this process and will therefore increase efficiency, and allow for the optimum use of the gas generator.
"More than ever before, Agrocam believes that a stable, reliable and cost-effective source of power is crucial to revive the poultry business in Cameroon, which suffered a big hit from the 2016 avian influenza [or bird flu] outbreak that paralysed poultry farmers in Douala and the surrounding areas. Energy currently represents 50% of our operational costs," said Jean Samuel Noutchogouin, Agrocam board chairman.
GE's Jenbacher Type 3 gas engines offer proven savings on service and fuel consumption as well as excellent efficiency. They are also suitable for a range of applicable gas types including natural gas, associated petroleum gas, propane, biogas, sewage gas, landfill gas, coal mine gas and other special gases such as coke, wood and pyrolysis gases. "The technical maturity and high degree of reliability of GE's Jenbacher Type 3 gas engines make them a leader in their range. Long service intervals, a maintenance-friendly engine design and low fuel consumption ensure a high operating efficiency, while enhanced components prolong service life," said Ali Hjaiej, Clarke Energy Africa business development director.
Africa is home to many of the fastest growing economies in the world and while this growth is being hindered by unreliable power generation, there are companies such as GE, which are offering solutions to these problems with a range of power products and services.