Wednesday, 28 November 2012


Solar energy in this country has grossly been underutilized!

Equatorial Kenya has been blessed with an uninterrupted solar supply 365 days in an year and the government has seemed oblivious to this fact. Rural Kenya has been a beneficiary of the rural electrification project that has tried to connect more people to the national power grid that is already grappling with power shortages and inadequate supply to the fast growing economy. Understandably rural Kenya demand for power is not that high but penetration has also been an issue for the project. Rural homes grapple with high prices of fuel used primarily for lighting as firewood remains the most preferred cooking fuel. Most of the projects undertaken many companies and individuals have been small scale and has involved supply of solar lanterns. This, however small can have a great impact of these families lives. On average it is estimated that these families use about 75/= a day on kerosene and in an economy where most people live on a dollar a day that amount is ridiculously high! If we get enough lanterns into these homes we could solve a problem that could seem hard in a very simple way.

Urban Kenya can also benefit greatly from solar power. The government recently passed a law that required installation of solar panels in certain households and businesses. Establishments coming up have been trying to comply to this law and this could significantly reduce the power costs for these businesses and households although more should be done to push for proper implementation of the law. The Nairobi City Council comes under a lot of criticism with its archaic laws, askaris, and councilors alike! But I must commend them on one fact, their use of solar panels for street lights. Along Parliament Road all these street lights have solar panels and this should be used in almost if not all of the light in the city.

This model would have worked very well on the lighting along the Thika Super highway.
All in all the government MUST reduce taxes on solar equipment being imported! This is the only way that we can encourage use of solar energy in the country and county governments will be wise to encourage use of solar in their counties since it will solve some of the problems that people grapple with. That said......

Thursday, 8 November 2012

GATE TO HELL: Not As Far As You'd Imagine

Remember the 50 Year Old Fire in Centralia Pennsylvania? Of course you do. Because you have subscribed this this blog and thus receive regular updates of geological happenings in the world. Thank you for doing that by the way.

So if you thought the 50 year old fire was bad, wait till you hear this. Somewhere in Turkmenistan in a town called Derweze ( take some time to Google that location), there is another crater that has been on fire for 40 years.
On the edge: Two people stand and look into the burning hole, which has become known as 'The Door to Hell'
These are probably geologists wondering how far hell was from where they stood. Photo credit: DailyMail
This giant hell hole in the middle of the Karakum Desert is a result an assumption gone haywire. Soviet geologists in 1971 were drilling for natural gas when the cavern collapsed and their rig got lost in the 70 m wide hole. In anger, Boris, the lead contractor, decided to make the hole pay by setting it on fire.
'Burn in hell you piece of schist!'
But as it turned out, the supply of gas was almost unlimited and the fire has been burning ever since.

Watchu doing Philpski? Nothing just chilling

According to the Daily Mail: In April 2010 the country's president, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, visited the site and ordered that the hole should be closed but this is yet to happen.

What I think should happen is they find ways of harvesting that fire. Maybe put up pipes that will go to everyone home (it's a small town) where it will be used for heating shower water and swimming pools.

What do you think they should do with it? Let me know.
Light show: A spectacular view of the flames burning inside the crater in the heart of the Karakum Desert
If the locals haven't started using this pit for disposal of waste, then they are really wasting it.
Hot: A closer view of the fire inside the hole, which locals have named 'The Door to Hell'

Long way down: The hole was formed in 1971 when ground beneath a drilling rig collapsed
This is why you need good data.  And maybe some 3d imaging

 Forl the actual real reason as to why they burnt off the gas, read the article on the DailyMail