Friday, 9 August 2013

Geothermal Electricity Can Add To Nigeria's Power Solution

Geothermal Power Plant
The deeper you go into the earth the hotter it gets. temperatures can reach 4-500 thousand degrees Celsius at the earth's core 6000 Kilometres under ground.

With every Kilometre you dig underground, the temperature typically rises by 25 - 50 degrees Celsius. In the 20th century, Europeans harvested some the vast energy under us by building Geothermal Power plant which uses steam from heated water deep under ground to power turbines and generate electricity.

The first ever Geothermal Generator was tested by Italian Prince, Piero Ginori Conti in 1904. It successfully lit 4 light bulbs.Geothermal electricity Plants were Built near tectonic plate boundaries because high temperatures can easily be accessed much closer to the earth's surface around tectonic plate boundaries.

As of today there are Geothermal power stations in 24 countries with the United States being the highest producer. World wide, Geothermal already generates enough electricity to meet the need of 60 million people. Once built geothermal power stations provide reliable, cheap and virtually emissions free power.

Recent advances in technology are making Geothermal power a viable prospect beyond tectonic areas. This has launched the idea of converting some of the worlds millions of idle decommissioned oil and gas wells into Geothermal power stations.

A recent discovery is the Pipe-in-Pipe technology: Water flows down an outer pipe, its heated and flows up an inner pipe. The hot water is then used to vaporize another fluid which drives the turbines to generate electricity (Not wanting to disclose the technology here). lol

Using decommissioned oil and gas well makes financial sense as drilling a new well is more expensive. This guarantees a clean, cheap source of power. Even functional oil wells can generate Geothermal power using hot water which is a by-product of the oil extraction process.

Oil fields normally produce 10 - 20 times more water than oil, a vast resource that is currently wasted. In Texas USA, researchers have mapped out Geothermal potential across the state of Texas, helping to indicate which decommissioned wells's worth re-entering. Though, each well would only make for small power stations but the number of potential wells are high. There are an estimated 2.5 Million abandoned oil and gas wells in the United states alone. How many do we have in Nigeria?

I do not know the amount of decommissioned oil and gas wells we have in Nigeria but i got a map that dates back to 1979 that indicates the location of oil and gas field in Nigeria. Its 2013, Some of those wells must have been decommissioned. The potential for Geothermal power stations in Nigeria good. How can something like this work in Nigeria, The government has already sold power generating and distribution infrastructures to private citizens.

According to Geothermal Energy Association, an economically competitive plant (A good Decommissioned Well) cost $3400 per kilowatt installed. The price does not fluctuate and it cost less for operation and maintenance compared to other sources of power generation. (Kinda feels too good to be true)

Will investors be willing to put their money in such ventures in Nigeria? I don't care, someone should just fix the power situation one way or the other. I Have lived in southern Peninsular Malaysia for a few years now and my light has never blinked.

Source : Earthrise

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