The deep water of Lake Kivu on the Congolese-Ruanda border contains large quantities of methane and carbon dioxide. The reserves of methane are estimated to be 65 km3 (65 billion cubic metres) and carbon dioxide reserve 255 km3. The methane is considered to be partly magmatic in origin, produced by microbial reduction of the volcanic carbon dioxide, and partly biogenic through the anaerobic reduction of dead algae and fish on the lake floor.
In the past the lake has erupted at irregular intervals, belching out these deadly gases. In 1986 a similar eruption at Lake Nyos in Cameroon killed 1.800 people – including some living as far as 25 km from the lake. With two million people living in the basin of the much larger Lake Kivu, this represents a mega-disaster waiting to happen.
But the methane gas also provides an accessible and renewable energy resource to the Kivu region, valued at tens of billions of dollars.
In collaboration with the US energy company Contour Glo... [More]
Lloyd's Register is collaborating on a project to create a fleet of commercial coasters powered by a combination of sails and marine engine using biogas as a fuel. The project was instigated by B9 Shipping,. part of the B9 Energy Group. which operates and maintains 45 wind farms on the British Isles as well as developing tidal projects and biogas production. Estimates show that UK biomass power generators may need up to 45 million tonnes of biomass per year. B9 shipping wants to build up to 50 vessels to transport 30 million tonnes a year of wood chips, wood pellets and biocoal pellets from mainly Scandinavia by 2020. The 3,000 dwt coastal vessels are equipped with sails, with biogas powered Bergen engine(s) providing power when sail power is not available. [More]