Because the earth’s crust is thinner than usual along the rift, it has vast geothermal potential. The American government reckons Kenya alone could generate 10,000mw of geothermal power, more than ten times the amount it currently produces. A by-product of such power stations is plenty of waste steam, which can then be used to heat dac machines. Moreover, since close to 90% of Kenya’s power is renewable, the electricity these machines consume does not contribute to more global warming.

Capturing carbon dioxide is just part of the process. Next it has to be safely locked away. The rift’s geology is particularly good for this, too. It has bands of porous basalt (a volcanic rock) that stretch across thousands of square kilometres. This makes the region “ideal” for carbon capture and storage, according to a paper published in 2021 by George Otieno Okoko and Lydia Olaka, both of the University of Nairobi. After carbon dioxide has been sucked from the air it is dissolved in water (in the same way one would make sparkling water). This slightly acidic and bubbly liquid is then injected into the rock. There it reacts with the basalt to form carbon-rich minerals—in essence, rocks—which means the gas will not leak back into the atmosphere…

Martin Freimüller, the founder of Octavia Carbon, a Kenyan startup, is working to build the world’s second-biggest dac plant in the Rift Valley. He hopes it will be able to sequester carbon dioxide far more cheaply than Climeworks can, in part thanks to cheap renewable electricity and geothermal steam, and in part because hiring skilled engineers and chemists costs less in Kenya than in the rich world.

Octavia’s pilot plant, scheduled for completion next year, is forecast to have costs of well below $500 a tonne. Mr Freimüller aims to cut this to below $100 within five years. That is far cheaper than industry-wide forecasts of $300-400 by bcg, a consulting firm.

Here is more from The Economist.  Kenya is insufficiently known as a green energy pioneer.

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