Added Value Engineering Consultants (AVEC) has completed feasibility study work for the recovery of methane gas from Lake Kivu to produce liquid fuels for the Rwandan market.

"We have been involved with the recovery of gas from Lake Kivu for a number of years and have done a number of studies for various interested organisations in the DRC and Rwanda," said Stanley Batzofin, AVEC’s operations director.

"With new ideas and novel processes, the key is to identify the technical and economic opportunities and challenges and then to test these against various criteria to show whether the proposed project could be viable.

"The Industrial Development Group (IDG) of South Africa has secured a concession with the Rwandan government on the Lake, but as the extraction technology specific to this lake’s resource is little known, understood or proven, our job is to look at the most cost-effective way of extracting the gas and then making use of this valuable resource, the aim of which in this case was to produce liquid fuels."

Rwanda has, for several years, had severe issues with energy (specifically electrical power) and securing a reliable liquid fuel source as it has no known oil reserves or refining capability presently.

"If we can show that at this phase the project has merit, then real progress can be made with regard to establishing a commercially viable processing plant that could go a long way to alleviating safety, energy and sustainability issues in the region," Mr Batzofin said.