Greenearth Energy to research coproduction of electricity and drinking water

Alexander Richter 20 Jan 2010

Australian Greenearth Energy is engaging into a research project that plans to generate electricity and at the same time desalinate hydrothermal water to produce drinking water.

According to a recent release, “Australian Geothermal energy company Greenearth Energy (ASX:GER) has joined forces with Melbourne’s RMIT University to conduct a joint research project aiming to generate electricity and drinking water from geothermal sources.

Minister for Energy and Resources and Community Development The Honourable Peter Bachelor MP today launched the $1.12 million three year project at RMIT University’s Bundoora Campus.

RMIT University’s Professor Aliakbar Akbarzadeh, who is leading a team of researchers, was developing an innovative system that combined fresh water production with electricity generation using entirely renewable sources.

“Our research focuses on the development of a dual geothermal system that can desalinate hydrothermal waters while generating renewable power,” commented Professor Akbarzadeh.

Researchers have seen promising results from a small-scale concept prototype developed at the Thermo-Fluids Laboratory in RMIT’s School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, which was on display at today’s launch.

The dual geothermal system for fresh water production and power generation has the potential to deliver remote communities and other applications greater access to water resources while at the same time supplying base-load, renewable, and emission-free power generation.

The three-year project, funded through an Australian Research Council Linkage grant, RMIT University and Greenearth Energy, will focus on further development of the prototype, performance improvement and evaluation of the dual geothermal system.

Greenearth Energy Managing Director Mark Miller said the research outcomes, if successful, would be used to develop commercial systems for a range of applications, including units capable of producing 0.1MW of electrical power and 75,000L of water per day.

“This scale of technology is particularly suitable for small and isolated communities off the main electricity grid,” Mr Miller said.

“This project could pave the way for the effective use of suitable hydrothermal waters, offering export opportunities through the commercial manufacture of small to medium-scale dual geothermal systems.”

In December, Greenearth was awarded $7 million from the Australian Government for its Geelong Geothermal Power Project from round two of the Geothermal Drilling Program.

The Geothermal Drilling Program will support Proof-of-Concept projects and help establish Australia as a world leader in geothermal technology development.

This Australian Government funding for the flagship Project’s Stage 1 Proof-of-Concept, came just a week after the Victorian Government, under the Energy Technology Innovation Strategy for large scale, pre-commercial, sustainable energy demonstration projects, awarded Greenearth Energy $5 million for the Stage 1 Proof-of-Concept and, upon successful completion of Stage 1, a further $20 million for the Stage 2, 12MWe geothermal demonstration power plant.

Greenearth Energy’s Geothermal Power Project is located approximately 9km North-west of the brown coal fired power station at Anglesea.”

Source: Proactive Investors