Category Archives: Hydropower


Pico Energy Ltd Case Study 1 Site Name: Kathamba
System type: Pelton Turbine Power output: 1.2 kW
Manufacturer: NTU design / Local
Typical Generation: 10.5 MWh p.a.
Client: Kathamba CEA Design Conditions: H = 28.00 m
Q = 0.08 m3/s
Location: Kerugoya, Kenya Commissioned: November 2001

 Project description:

This scheme was installed as part of a program implemented by The Micro Hydro Centre at Nottingham Trent University to demonstrate Pico Hydro technology in Sub Saharan Africa. The cost of the penstock, turbine and generator equipment was met by the project funders (European Commission) and all other costs were contributed by the 65 households which the scheme now supplies with electricity.

The scheme makes use of a very small stream on farm land in a region of Kenya to demonstrate that very useful amounts of power can be reliably generated from small resources. Capital and installation costs were minimised by training local workshops how to manufacture the turbine units and work being undertaken to install the scheme by the local community who are also the beneficiaries.

An off-grid control system maintains the voltage and frequency of the system so that sensitive mains loads such as CFL lighting can be connected. All of the loads are carefully managed through load limiting circuits which prevent the generator from becoming overloaded and enable the power to be distributed in small current packages over a 600 metre radius. In this way, it has been possible to connect 60 houses to the 1.2 kW generator. In addition to lighting, radios, small TVs and a variety of battery powered products such as mobile phones and power tools are popular loads which can be connected.