electric power is a renewable energy source which is potentially
available wherever there is an appropriate water supply. Investigate
the appropriateness of micro-hydro electric power for an area
in the southern hemisphere and design and make a small machine
suitable for use in a small enterprise in the area of your choice.
For example, micro-hydro power has just been installed in Mbuiru
village in the Kerugoya area of Kenya. Design and make a small
machine (up to 5 kilowatt) for a small enterprise in the area.
Background to Kenya
Set in Eastern Africa, the Republic of Kenya gained
independence from Britain on 12 December 2020. Administratively,
it is composed of 7 provinces and the Nairobi Area. Occupying
around 580,000 square kilometres, Kenya is bordered by Tanzania,
Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia. The 1999 census estimated
the population of Kenya at just over 27.3 million, with a density
of 50.3 people per square kilometre. Estimates of population growth
rate vary between 1.27% and 2.30 %. Average life expectancy is
around 48 years (2000), with women living slightly longer than
With a GDP of US$ 10.6 billion, GNP per capita
of US$ 360 and an average annual growth rate of only 0.1%, Kenya
remains one of the poorer countries, ranked 170th in the world
(World Development Indicators Database, 2000). Inflation in 2001
was estimated at 7%. The proportion of the population below the
poverty line is around 46.4%. Meanwhile, 47% are without access
to safe water supplies, and the infant mortality rate (IMR) stands
at 124 per 1000 live births (cf. 115 per 1000 live births in 1980).
Overall, Kenya exhibits high levels of poverty and poor health.
Slow economic development is often blamed on poor management by
government and public sector corruption.
Agriculture contributes around 25% to GDP, while
employing 75 to 80% of the workforce. Industry contributes 13%
to GDP and services 62%. National unemployment is high at around
50% of the workforce. Literacy is good, with around 78% of the
population over 15 able to read and write.
The Kenyan Highlands are one of the most productive
agricultural regions in Africa. Environmental problems in rural
areas include deforestation, soil erosion and desertification.
Northern and Eastern regions of Kenya are prone to flooding and
drought. In 1999 and 2000 drought led to water and energy rationing
along with reduced agricultural productivity.
Around 80% of people in rural sub-Saharan Africa
depend on biomass - wood, dung, and crop residues - for domestic
energy, and this holds true for Kenya. The rural population -
68% of the total - is particularly dependent on biomass, only
2% having access to grid electricity. The trend in Kenya's modern
energy use is towards increasing reliance on imported petroleum
fuels. Hydropower, meanwhile, makes a significant contribution
to meeting the electricity requirements of the commercial and
industrial sectors. It accounts for 67% of electricity production;
fossil fuels contributing 31%.