Waste to Energy to Manage Embu’s Solid and Liquid Waste for Economic and Social Benefits


Amount Raised


Total Investors

Project Overview

It will entail collection, transporting, separation and processing of solid waste from municipal dumps and sewerage systems into clean energy through the gasification and landfill process. Activities include construction of a hybrid landfill-gasification waste to energy plant, and a plastic, metals recycling system. Infrastructure needed include land (county set aside 33 acres for this), waste separation bins, rear-load trucks, a gasification and ash smelting plant, a gas cleaning plant.


  • Energy
  • Informal Settlements Upgrading
  • Urban Infill & Public Space
  • Waste Management
  • Water & Sanitation
Funding Goal


  1. To demonstrate the viability – financial, environmental and social – of a decentralized, community-based and pro-poor waste management model (integrates five technological units: fuel preparation, gasification, syngas purification, syngas combustion and production of energy, and exhaust gases purification) that has at its core the conversion of the organic and inorganic fraction of municipal solid waste into energy, and which is in support of national policies.
  2. To develop a multi-stakeholder partnership which can serve as a blueprint for further replication of the model in other locations in Kenya and other countries in Africa.
  3. To enhance the knowledge and good practices of the stakeholders involved. This includes Availing of Guidelines and training programs; Training, awareness raising and modification of habits of all partners and participants, both mentors and agents involved in the collection and treatment processes; active networks enhancing local management expertise for all the involved stakeholders, based on exchanging cross-border knowledge, solving doubts and problems and ensuring the application of good practices and correct results (project advisory and monitoring tasks).

Progress Tracker


  • Phase 1 (Completed)

    Includes stakeholder engagement on establishment of the project in the county, establishment of the legal framework for setup of a waste to energy project in the county. It also includes passing necessary legislation in the County Assembly on Environment and Waste Management, and adoption of the same, including rolling out of a pilot integrated waste collection system.

  • Phase 2 (Completed)

    Includes setting up of the base infrastructure upon which the WTE facilities will be established. This will include purchase and or allocation of land on which the structures and supporting systems will be put such as waste transfer stations. This phase also includes the legal issues of change of user from agricultural land to industrial, obtaining permits for setup of the plant, and also undertaking of environmental impact assessment ESIA and a baseline survey for the proposed facilities.

  • Phase 3

    Includes the design of the plant, procurement and construction of the plant.

  • Phase 4

    Will include construction of the pyrolysis gasification and ash smelting plant, a gas cleaning plant and electric generation plant. It includes construction of the plants on the already set aside 33 acres by the county government. This phase will also include the purchase of the waste transportation system such as rear loaders and other heavy machinery to serve the 3 counties and the WTE/Landfill facility. During this phase the county department of environment will undertake an awareness programme on waste collection and separation, as it also undertakes recruitment of staff to manage the facility.

  • Phase 5

    Includes setup of an integrated waste collection, separation and transportation system. This will entail setting up additional waste collection points each with a plastics, organics and metals bins. During this phase the landfill will also be operationalized so that it will handle some of the waste destined for the facility. To include laying of the base for landfill (after necessary excavations).

  • Phase 6

    Includes commissioning of the plant and enhancing its full operation.

  • Phase 7

    Will entail setup of a byproducts packaging and value chain system. Some of the bi-products of the gasification include construction materials and some oils and char. These can be packaged and used in construction and motor oil industry.

  • Phase 8

    Includes project oversight and monitoring which will entail Establishment and operation of a steering committee or project management board.

Current Stage

Feasibility Assessment: Proof of concept, economic model, licensing and approvals obtained. Clearly presents rationale and identifies technical and financial challenges.



Project Milestones

1) Stakeholder engagement was conducted and concluded. Detailed project study as we ll as a Environment and Social Impact Assessment carried out and submitted to NEMA. Land for the site was acquired and change of user fulfilled. The land has also been fenced off. The county already setup a waste segregation system for plastics, organic and metal in all the towns.

2) Project now under design phase.

ESG Impact

The increase in human population, economy development and advancement of technologies in Embu have led to a high demand of energy. One of the options to solve the problems is by implementing Waste-To-Energy (WTE) systems which in general, can convert or process any type of wastes into energy. Apart from being an alternative energy resource, WTE is also able to relieve the conflict of disposal of wastes in the country. Economically WTE is a plausible and reasonable choice to further develop other utilization of renewable sources to improve the financial stability of Embu county in the present and in the future. It would actually be a source of income considering the plan to sell the energy to the planed industrial park. WTE for Municipal Solid Waste has potential to bring profits from sales and carbon credits. However, pre-treatment is needed to produce better economic benefits of WTE.

Other economic incentives of waste management include the ability of the programmes as sources to generate income: » Direct waste fees from citizens; » Cross financing of MSW services through other local fees or taxes; » Gate-fees when waste is delivered at a plant site; » Revenues from sale of recycled material and recovered energy (electricity, heat/steam); » Local or national subsidies; » Revenues from national or international carbon funds (e.g. Green Climate Fund); » Tax refunds and application of special feed-in tariffs for electricity produced from non-conventional sources such as waste material. Construction of a WTE reduces carbon footprint. All of the wastes which are generated in Embu are the biogas resources. Biogas is produced from anaerobic decomposition of organic matter. Biogas is one of the alternative energy resources which is primarily composed of methane (CH4) (60%) and carbon dioxide (CO2) (35-40%) as well as other traces like ammonia(NH3), hydrogen sulphide(H2S), hydrogen(H2), oxygen(O2), nitrogen(N2) and carbon monoxide(CO). The accumulated wastes in the landfills, sewers and farms attract not only pests but also it carries diseases. Although landfills and sewers are isolated from residential areas, the water waste and leachate can still invade the groundwater and spread diseases across the region. Other than the infestation of pests, the animal manure itself infect the environment as it consists of harmful bacteria and viruses, heavy metals, growth hormone and antibiotics [8]. However, WTE systems could inhibit the spawning of the pests and prevent them from spreading any viruses to the community. On top of that, not only WTE systems can reduce chances of spreading of diseases, but also the digestate from anaerobic decomposition which is used as fertilizers are good to improve the growth of the agricultural yields.


The project is expected to manage waste in 3 counties, Embu as the centre for the WTE plant, Kirinyaga as a source of waste and Tharaka Nithi. Embu County is location on south-eastern side of Mount Kenya some 120 kilometers north east of Nairobi. It covers an area of 2,818 Km2, with a population of 516,212 (49% – male and 51% – female), according to the 2009 National census. Embu Town is the main urban Center and the administrative capital. It comprises of four constituencies: Runyenjes, Manyatta, Mbeere North and Mbeere South. The county has a cool climate with temperatures ranging between 9°C – 28°C and average rainfall of 1206mm. Much of the land is largely arable and is well watered by a number of rivers and streams. Embu town is the main economic centre with a population of about 100,000, followed by Manyatta, Runyenjes, Kiritiri, Siakago. In total the towns comprises about 220,000 individuals.

Kirinyaga County is location on foothills of Mount Kenya some 112 kilometers north east of Nairobi. It covers an area of 1479.09 Km2, with a population of 528,054 (51% – female and 49% – male), according to the 2009 National census. Kerugoya Town is the main urban Center and the administrative capital with a population of more than 40,000 people. It comprises of four constituencies: Mwea, Gichugu, Ndia and Kirinyaga Central Tharaka Nithi County is location on semi-arid area of the Eastern region of Kenya , some 175 kilometers north east of Nairobi. It lies on the foothills of Mount Kenya and is one of the smallest counties in Kenya, covering approximately 2,638.8 km2, with a population of 356,330 people (male – 48% and female -52%), according to the 2009 National census. Tharaka Nithi Town is the main urban Center.

SDG Goals

SDG 1: No PovertySDG 2: Zero HungerSDG 3: Good Health and Well-beingSDG 4: Quality EducationSDG 5: Gender EqualitySDG 6: Clean Water and SanitationSDG 7: Affordable and Clean EnergySDG 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthSDG 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureSDG 10: Reduced InequalitySDG 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesSDG 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionSDG 13: Climate ActionSDG 14: Life Below WaterSDG 15: Life on LandSDG 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsSDG 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goals


SDG 2 – Zero Hunger

Some of the bi-products of the facility is digestate that forms a base for organic fertilizer. Farmers shall be able to access cheap, organic fertilizer from the plant, including access to soil conditioner which is a bi-product of burning the organic waste.

SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-being

Through the facility, waste will be better collected and managed, and waste induced illnesses shall be reduced since entire waste from the 3 counties shall be collected and converted to energy.

SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation

Most of the rivers and water bodies in the region have been contaminated with waste. Its management means less dumping of waste into rivers and water bodies, while sanitation shall be greatly improved.

SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

The facility will be promoting scalable innovative technology around waste management that can be replicated elsewhere in the country. If successful, this will be the first project of the kind in Kenya.

SDG 13 – Climate Action

Most waste goes to disposal dumps that end up decomposing and producing harmful green house gases. The reduction of such dumps means less production of green house gases and therefore better climate action.

SDG 17 – Partnerships to Achieve the Goals

The facility will bring together many partners, community, county government, national government, private sector to address a problems that requires concerted efforts to be successful.

Risks and Limitations

What are the key risks, constraints and dependencies related to the project?

1) Market Risk
Model is based on the assumption that electric power will follow the same upward trend that it has been for the last decade. The case may be different. Key input factors such as labor or modules could increase. This will be mitigated by Reducing payback time as much as possible by looking for VAT exemption, less construction delays and generally by reducing total system cost. Conduct thorough research to find cheapest but efficient equipment in market to cut on cost.


2) Equipment Failure and Technology Risk
As this is a long-term investment, equipment is subject to wear and tear leading to poor performance. Poor performance may also be as a result of neglect and little maintenance. This could be managed through Ensuring adequate maintenance through regular cleaning and repair and by employing the right staff for supervision; and Acquisition of quality equipment that observe longevity.


3) Theft Risk
The plant will be located in a remote area thus there is a risk that all or part of the technology be exposed to theft. This could be managed through fencing the site and erecting a boundary fence that comprises a 2-meters-high C-MAX high security, fire resistant, burglar proof wall together with the 1.5 meters wide perimeter fence walkway. Installation of the closed-circuit television (CCTV) system at the entrances of all inverter housings, control building, main gate to the solar farm and outdoor transformer yard and along the perimeter. The central monitor and control equipment for CCTV, intruder alarm, fire detection alarm and fault/maintenance shall be located at the control room.


4) Operational Risk
Development of the plant as Independent Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) structured as an autonomous entity, managed by a board and operated by an EPC that will guarantee the project financiers correct operation and maintenance. The power plant will be owned and controlled privately.


5) Political and Regulatory Risk
While a lot of progress has been made in the project, there are delays in obtaining some licenses required by the government. This will be mitigated by Aggressive follow ups with relevant power generations stakeholders such as the Ministry of Energy, Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), formerly ERC and Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) to ensure closure of the agreement and fulfill all statutory requirements. Diversification of services to off grid systems.

Some of the strengths of the project include:
• Ready Market once the PPA is finalized.
• Favourable business climate due to government support through tax incentives
• Prime location near a proposed industrial park for small industries and copper processing.
• Carbon emission reduction leading to environmental conservation
• Community empowerment due to local partnerships and CSR
• Community collaboration as a result of constant engagement with local stakeholders throughout the process.
• Feasibility study and ESIA conducted and licensed
• Strong, passionate leadership and team with international experience and track record of successful projects
• It is scalable to other parts of the country
• The project also has a number of opportunities worth followup
• Sale to the produced electricity to the national grid through the FiT policy and PPAs
• Manufacture of associated components and accessories, such as charge controllers, inverters and packaging of gas from bio-methane
• Off grid supply to homes and institutions
• Carbon credit refunds

Risk mitigation and continuity

The Embu County Government has put in place the Embu Investment Authority (ECIA), a legal entity that will enter into agreement with the investors to make the project operational. The Public Private Partnership will be entered between three partners i.e. ECIA (Embu county), Green Energy Africa (Private Entity Kenya), and the Investor. The agreement shall follow and be directed by the PPP Act of the National Government, and registered as a legally binding instrument. In addition, ECIA and the other 2 partners shall form a SPV and land on which the project shall lie transferred to the vehicle.


Type of Investment


Financing Structure

Public Private Partnership

Secured Investment

The County Government of Embu has invested in land (33 acres of land available), and in supporting the studies (ESIA and DFS). It has also already setup a mini waste collection system that includes bins and trucks.

Committed Government Funding


National and Subnational Investors

The Sub-national Government (County Government of Embu) is committing USD 500,000 of support to the project through secondment of professional staff to the facility to support its operationalization, as well as support to public participation of community in ensuring a success to this project.

Committed Private Funding

Yes. Green Energy Africa Ltd has proposed to commit USD 300,000 to support further Feasibility studies to ascertain the waste regime, and to undertake a detailed design and technology selection for the project. The company also wants to support the CSR component of the project once it is commissioned to the tune of USD 500,000.


Technical Support Required

The project requires much technical support from sector players, notably WTE experts and financing specialists. For a start there will be a need for a Detailed Feasibility Study, a Technology study, a financial analysis study and a Interconnectivity study. This is because the interconnectivity to the national electricity grid requires to be done in a seamless manner. There will also be a request to have a financial specialist to help make a financing closure where we will enter into agreement with a developer for a Build Operate and Transfer mechanism.


Governmental Buy-in

Yes. National Level, Subnational/regional level, Other

Other Forms of Governmental Support

(1) Goodwill support to the project
(2) Secondment of government employees to work in the project
(3) Tax free **non payment of county rates** for the project executants
(5) Office space in the initial stages of the project

National Ministries Involved

Ministry of Energy - Eng Dr Joseph Njoroge, Principal Secretary. Ministry of Trade, Hon Peter Munya, Cabinet Secretary

SubNational Ministries Involved

1)Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority- Pavel Oimeke, Director General
2)Embu County Government, Hon Martin Wambora, Governor
3)Department of Environment, Dr Nicholas Kunga, County Chief Officer
4) National Environment Management Authority, Mr P Birichi, Director

Other Entities Involved

Green Energy Africa Ltd, Dr Richard Bagine, Board of Directors Chairperson (2)

Licenses and Permits



  • 10th February 2020

    Cities Investment Platform in progress - updates pending

  • 10th February 2020

    Project featured on the Cities Investment Platform, which was launched at the Tenth Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF10)

Supporting Documents

No supporting documents included.



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