This blog is about our tour to the Old Kapiysha Geothermal Plant in the nearby pebble village of Munshi.
In 1986 the Zambian Geological Survey, in conjunction with Italian Aid, determined that the hot springs in Kapisya were favorable for commercial power generation.
A pilot plant located in Sumbu on the shores of Lake Tanganyika was subsequently built with funding from the Italian government. The plant uses a total of 15 shallow exploratory and production wells, four of which have submersible pumps installed. The plant also has two Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) turbogenerators, with a nominal capacity of 200 kW which were last inspected by the Italian government in 1988.
The project never became operational because resource temperatures were found to be too low. The government of Zambia is currently exploring options for refurbishing and commissioning the Kapisya geothermal plant after 30 years of being idle.
Now it makes a perfect short tour for clients to go and see it and experience some local village culture.
Hot springs have a widespread occurrence in Zambia (over 80 recorded), some of them capable of being utilized to generate electricity using the binary cycle system like the one attempted here. The Zambian Springs are found along fault zones cutting thick sequences of rock cycles ranging in age from Precambrian to Karoo.
The tour begins with a short 15 minute boat ride along the pebble shored villages until we stop at Munshi. Its a very remote village subsisting on fishing and local dhow boat building.
We walk through the friendly local village, greeted by the happy village children who rarely see tourists, and continue through large mango trees and maize farms then out along the open dry swamp area.
In 25 minutes we arrive to the site which is still in excellent condition and has a caretaker who guides us around. The water spurts out at 87 degrees and smells of sulphur.
Its very interesting to see such a project attempted in such a remote area of Africa that still may be reopened using newer technology that is now available.
The whole tour is about 2- 3 hours but well worth it to see a piece of preserved history.