Research Projects

Completed Research

Topic: Evaluation of Occupational Noise Exposure among Workers in Metal Fabricating Sector in Kamukunji Nairobi.
Researcher(s): Mr. C. Mburu, John Kimani, Dr Ciira Kiiyukia
Background: The study was conducted to determine the level of hearing loss, noise exposure levels and awareness toward noise induced hearing loss among the workers in metal fabricating sheds in Kamukunji, Nairobi.
Methods: A structured questionnaire was administered to 384 randomly selected workers to collect information relating to their awareness toward hazardous occupational noise and preventive measures. Noise mapping using sound level meter was carried out in various sheds and audiometric testing was carried out to the sample at frequencies 0.125-16 KHz.
Results: The overall measured noise levels in the study area ranged from 72.0 dB (A) to 113.8 dB (A) and 93.8% of the workers were exposed to noise levels of 90 dB (A) and above for more than 8 hrs daily. 90.6% of the workers were aware that noise can cause deafness and 88.8 % of the workers were aware that it can be prevented, but only 2.9% of the workers   possessed hearing protectors of which only 1.3% uses them regularly. 34.4% of workers had noise related health problems but only 10.7% had sought medical assistance. 35.2% of the workers had impaired hearing and 83% of those with impaired hearing had worked for more than 6 years.
Conclusion: Workers were exposed to hazardous noise level and they recognised noise as a hazard but initiatives are required to increase use of effective preventive measure.

Topic: Impact of Safety and Health Audits on the Working Conditions in Nairobi Metropolis.
Researcher(s): Stanley Mbatha, Charles Mburu and Dr. Ciira Kiiyukia.
Background: The study was conducted to assess the impact of a legal notice No 31 of 2004 enacted by the Minister for Labour that introduced safety and health audits in organizations in relation to improvements of the working conditions in Nairobi.
Methods: Document review at the Directorate of Occupational Safety and Health Services offices, Ministry of Labour and a structured questionnaire administered to 130 workers from 10 different workplaces that had been audited continuously from 2005 to 2008.
Results: 1. there was over 100% increase in the number of organizations that were audited between 2005 and 2008
2. Only 6.35% of the workplaces were consistently audited from 2005 to 2008
3. 65% of the recommendations from the safety and health audits were implemented
4. Major impediments to implementation of the recommendations was lack of adequate budgetary allocation to safety and health, management commitment and follow up by DOSHS.
Conclusions: The study found that there has been improvement of the working conditions within Nairobi Metropolis since the introduction of safety and health audits.

Topic: ‘Analysis of Multi-flow and Coupled Energy Conversion Processes’- MSc Thesis
Researcher(s): Francis Njoka under the guidance of Dr. Robert Steinberger-Wilckens & Dr. Detlev Heinemann.
Background: Analyses of novel energy conversion processes solely based on energy flow quantities and devoid of economic considerations hence facilitating universal application of the findings.
Methods: Energy balance, efficiency chains and associated carbon emissions of both novel and reference systems. Three technologies; Enhanced oil recovery (EOR), High Temperature Electrolysis (HTE) and Ammonia & Methanol as SOFC fuels were analyzed.
Results: Novel CO2 capture methods reduced CO2 emissions by over 40% but more PE was used; Low-cost high temperature sources greatly reduced electrolyzers’ electricity demand; Ammonia and Methanol are still potential fuels which could overcome the storage issues with hydrogen at quite impressive efficiencies.
Conclusions: These novel technologies have a very high future potential but must of course be vetted economically before adoption.

Ongoing Research

Topic: Assessment of the effectiveness and Public acceptance of Wildlife Conservation and Management Systems in Kenya.
Researcher(s): Margaret Gichuhi

Topic: Eco paint for Adobe based Constructions.
Researcher(s): Benson Karanja

Topic: Development of a Wind Resource Assessment Model for areas with Dominant Thermal effects with specific reference to Kenya.
Researcher(s): Francis Xavier Ochieng

Topic: Waste to Energy – Conversion of the Organic Component of Municipal solid waste to electricity.
Researcher(s): Eng. Sylvia Njeri Kahiu

Topic: Benefit – Cost analysis of Solar Water Pumping Systems in Kenya.
Researcher(s): Dr. R. Kinyua, Maina M.N.

Topic: An evaluation of the Ministry of Energy’s Solar PV Programme for Public Institutions in ASAL regions of Kenya – Technical and Social-Economic aspects.
Researcher(s): Dr. R. Kinyua, Kabiro P.M.

Topic: Evaluation of safety culture maturity and compliance to OSHA 2007 by the Universities in Kenya.
Researcher(s): Ms. Purity Njeru

Recent Publications

Name of Lecturer/Authors: Francis Xavier Ochieng
Title of Publication: EAC Capacity Assessment / Capacity building of EAC secretariat to implement the Regional Strategy on scaling up access to modern Energy services
Abstract: The East African Community (EAC) Secretariat is currently implementing the Regional Strategy on Scaling up access to modern energy services. The strategy seeks to achieve implementation of four main targets:  access to modern energy cooking services; access to electricity for peri-urban and urban areas; access to electricity for communities, health centers and schools; and lastly access to mechanical energy for productive use. In a bid to implement this strategy the EAC undertook a Capacity assessment to understand aspects that need strengthening in order for it to implement the strategy.
The main “quick-win” results of this Energy based CA/CD study indicated that EAC secretariat needs to:
1.    Strengthen the national focal points at each of the partner states to enable them implement the strategy
2.    Develop a data base of best practices and lessons learnt of energy activities and projects undertaken in the EAC partner states. A strategy for implementation should also be included.
3.    Harmonization of EAC partner states policies & strategies with that of the regional strategy
4.    Development of the policy and administrative systems to enable EAC utilize the climate negotiation funds for funding the strategy related energy activities
5.    EAC secretariats to liaise with the Inter-University Council of East Africa (IUCEA) to enable them integrate energy issues in their activities.
Name of Journal/Conference Proceedings/Workshop: 2nd Stakeholder’s workshop on CA/CD for the EAC secretariat to implement the Regional strategy on scaling up access to modern energy services held on 11th – 12th May 2011 in Kigali, Rwanda
Year of Publication: 2011.

Name of Lecturer/Authors: Francis Xavier Ochieng
Title of Publication: Final evaluation of the Somalia Energy and Livelihoods Programme (SELP)
Abstract: Somaliland and Puntland represent some of the set of post-conflict states rebuilding their infrastructure. As a key driver, the provision of energy in a country where 95% of the population rely on traditional unsustainable biomass provides a special challenge.
The study assessed an energy up scaling model where cross-sectoral approaches involving provision of renewable energy technologies to schools, health centers and community centers ; developing of community cooperatives to fabricate and sell improved cook stoves; training of technicians to install and maintain solar products including solar pumps; and lastly fabricated and disseminated a mechanical wind pump.
The utilization of cross-sectoral applicative approaches in energy ensured the wide application of renewable energy technologies to communities in post-conflict states of Puntland and Somaliland. It also led to the development of an improved stove and mechanical wind pump fabrication industries. The latter is especially remarkable since this is the first time that mechanical wind pumps have been fabricated by another organization apart from Bob Harries Limited (BHEL) outside Kenya. This achievement was due to the knowledge and technical transfer agreements between Xareed Company in Somaliland which was supported by ADRA in Somalia.
Name of Journal/Conference Proceedings/Workshop: Presentation of the Final project Evaluation of the Somaliland Energy and Livelihood Project at ADRA-Somalia office in March, 2011
Year of Publication: 2011.