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Green Business Ideas: Solar,Wind power Ships while Geothermal beats recession away – Future RE

09 Feb

It is cold, freezing deadly cold in Europe. There is death. Both reported human deaths and others which go mostly unreported. Ask that to the farmer whose live-stock may have also suffered and the animal lovers, they too would have a story to tell. In a report, I read that some western European and former East block countries are not getting enough Gas from Russia. While we must honor business treaty and longterm business collaborations, we must also understand that traditional sources of Energy must be re-looked  and the potential for all types of alternate Energy must be vetted. Form this vetting the one that is the most practical must be given precedence over the rest, world wide. This is the only way to avoid the discomfort EU faces due to the shortage of energy in this harsh winter.

 I would like my readers to pause at the Alternate Energy  which may be different form Renewable Energy. To my mind man has yet to devise a system which can perfectly ape the Earth Ecosystem in Generating Energy in a T-ZED form. ( Total Zero Emission Design). For every activity we partake there would be some thing that needs to be – MINED – EXTRACTED – CUT  out form the Natural system. We have not yet become that “advanced” as the advanced Nations like people to believe.

Having said that, we must now see which among the alternate energy sources we can get the maximum, within the constrains of resources we have, be it – technological, social, political or combination of all. Solar, my beloved is yet a baby which needs to catch-up to its big brother wind, who is having the adolescent problems of its own in various countries. Micro – hydle although better than its father the large Hydle dams in mobility and not as cruel to devastate large Eco-systems by sinking them; is too weak to power cities. The logistics of Bio-gas is another story, therefore it can have regional success in mid-size generation. Wave technology has not yet caught on.

So while we wait for Solar to take its place under the Sun, which no doubt it would and even avoid eating up large swats of land by just floating on water, while keeping in mind to allow sunlight down below; and compliment Wind turbine which line the Oceans along the sea faring route, in large floats which allow ships to charge up their dynamos from one point to the next, thus limiting the use and carriage of bunker fuel; especially when they enter territorial waters form the Blue Seas. In fact these floating Wind turbines could act as buoys / light-houses too and being closer to shore more easy to maintain, while avoiding the socio-political problems it faces on land, we must at the UNFCCC level hail Geo-thermal as the Messiah for now.

Low temperature geothermal applications include space heating and in agricultural uses (greenhouse heating, the drying of fruits and vegetables, aquaculture and seawater desalination, and in spas), providing an ideal synergy with other widespread commercial ventures. As technological advances allow for the exploitation of lower temperature geothermal resources, found at just a few meters below the ground surface, the heating and cooling of water for domestic use, for instance, becomes highly viable and attractive. Such applications lessen reliance of non-RE resources, are highly reliable and cost effective, and emit far less carbon dioxide. Advantages of investing in Geothermal are many as there are a  wealth of geothermal resources around the World. This can provide emerging markets with substantial entry-stage opportunities due to wide variety of synergistic applications.

 And Messiah it could very well be for Greece. All the Greeks need to do is look towards  Santorini. It is the most famous volcano in Greece. The most recent volcanic eruption in Greece was Santorini in 1950. Greece has 752 hot springs which are popular tourist destinations.   Greece lies in a geographic position that is favorable to geothermal resources, both high temperature and low temperature. High temperature resources, suitable for power generation coupled with heating and cooling, are found at depths of 1-2 kilometres on the Aegean islands of Milos, Santorini, and Nisyros. Other locations that are promising at depths of 2-3 kilomteres are on the islands of Lesvos, Chios, and Samothraki as well as the basins of Central-Eastern Macedonia and Thrace.  Low temperature geothermal resources are found at the plains of Macedonia-Thrace and in the vicinity of each of the 56 hot springs found in Greece. These areas include Loutra-Samothrakis, Lesvos, Chios, Alexandroupolis, Serres, Thermopyles, Chalkidiki, and many others.

Geothermal power – the energy derived from stores of superheated water and steam in seismically-active areas – could, according to geologists, offer a realistic alternative to fossil fuels in the production of electricity and position the country as a regional leader in what is a growing global market.  According to an energy profile of Greece in a US Commercial Service report, there are up to 2,000MW of electrical output available from ‘high temperature fields’ across the country.

By the end of 2007 the installed thermal capacity of the direct geothermal uses in Greece amounted to roughly 75 MWt. Despite the large high-enthalpy resources in the active Aegean volcanic arc ,no electric power is produced from geothermal resources in Greece.  With  the existence of 30 geothermal fields in Greece – two of them sizable enough to produce at least 250MW of uninterrupted electrical power, Greece can not only pay its way out of the Economic crisis but also show the way to the EU Nations on how they could   meets its Kyoto Protocol and EU targets on greenhouse gas emissions.

The above story is also true for India, which does not even exploit its easily available recourses.  In fact Mumbai is practically sitting on it. Should the State Government of Maharashtra seriously consider the use and application of geothermal lying under utilized it could use the applications of geothermal energy, which  vary according to their temperature and include:

Power generation(θ>90 °C)

 Space heating (with radiators, θ>60 °C, fan-coils, θ>40 °C, floor heating systems, θ>25 °C)

 Refrigeration and air conditioning (using absorption heat pumps, θ>60 °C, or with water-cooled heat pumps, θ<30 °C)

 Heating greenhouses and soil because plants grow more quickly and become bigger with heat (θ>25 °C), and for protection from frost.

 Aquaculture (θ>15 °C) because fish need a specific temperature to grow.

 Industrial applications such as desalination of seawater (θ>60 °C), drying agricultural products, etc.

 Thermal spas (θ = 25-40 °C)

Besides geothermal fields, with today’s technology, heat from rock at a shallow depth, as well as low temperature underground or surface water can be used for heating and air conditioning.  Hot dry rock, which is found everywhere at depths between 3 and 5 kilometers, by artificial water circulation through it at a temperature of up to 150 °C . If the cost of energy is calculated over the life cycle of the system, geothermal heat pumps cost less than a system which consumes oil or natural gas.

Geothermal energy should be exploited in India where using Nuclear Energy is meeting with stiff social resistance, especially after the Fukushima daiichi incident in Japan . Moreover, it has been proved beyond doubt by the experts of Geo-thermal in India that setting up a plant would cost far less than that of Nuclear and produce more and safer energy.

The other advantage it could have over coal based thermal or large hydle generated power is its “portability”. The size of a Geo-thermal plant compared to the above two would be very small – generation capacity wise. Moreover it would neither flood vast areas causing socio-economic upheaval nor produce fly-ash a dangerous polluter. The only thing it emits is water vapor. However, in some certain trace gases are found which can be easily treated.

This portability has a very great business advantage, which perhaps power companies have overlooked. It is a fact that energy generation and distribution in India is far costly than the tariff applied.  Typically, domestic (24% of total power supply uptake) and agricultural (22%) enjoy cross subsidies from industrial (38%) and commercial (16%) users. Industrial and commercial users still pay 30-60% above average power price. Therefore if Geo-thermal plants are placed close to the industrial & commercial areas by the Private power companies, they would be able to evacuate and distribute power at a far cheaper cost, which would be beneficial to both.

 

 

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