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Power from Water Hyacinth

Neil Noble
related country: Niger

We need information to help us with a developing world project in the tropics to do with using water-hyacinths for new energy. Our invention is a gas-turbine powered dewatering and drying processor. This will turn the plants into solid fuel equivalent to an output of 6.8 MW and generate electric power of 600 kW simultaneously.

In the Niger Delta, for example, wood is used as fuel at such a rate that forest is being depleted at 3.6 times the reforestation rate and attempts are being made to substitute water-hyacinths

Question is would this size be suitable? If not what would be suitable in your opinion please?


You might check out the experience of introducing Water Hyacinth in Kenya. It has been a significant problem for a num ...
John Cody gravatar imageJohn Cody ( 2014-07-12 09:59:20 )

2 Answers


You might check out the experience of introducing Water Hyacinth in Kenya. It has been a significant problem for a number of years and several groups have tried solutions to develop solutions, who may have information relevant, especially Nairobi reservoir. John Cody


I am not at all familiar with the process, it does sound interesting.

Your question is not clear to me - 'would this size be suitable?' Suitable for what?

One concern would be the net energy gain - water is very energy dense, so drying the hyacinths will take a lot of energy - do you have any idea of the energy balance? Can you use a solar drying method?

Second would be the plants themselves - hyacinths don't grow that big (~1 m, right?) compared to a 10 m high tree! So you will might need a lot more land (or water) area to get an equivalent energy yield to trees. Do you have any idea of this balance? Could you consider using fast growing tree species instead, pine, willow, poplar.

Also Water Hyacinths are an invasive species, so even if the engineering works out, are you going to be able to control the spread of the plant, can you guarantee that you will not be starting something that will have significantly adverse consequences for the natural environment?

Has anyone looked at trying to implement more sustainable practices for fuel use - introducing more efficient stoves, the use of charcoal, using solar cooking methods etc.

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2014-07-09 12:58:57
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Last updated:
Nov 17 '14