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Private company exploring 200MW project in Bangladesh

Nowapara, Jessore, Bangladesh (source: flickr/ Sk Kabirul Hashan, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 8 Mar 2011

A private firm is exploring the option of building a 200MW geothermal power plant in the district of Thakurgain in Bangladesh.

As previously reported there is some movement on potential development for geothermal projects in Bangladesh.  There are now news that “a private company has planned to set up the country’s first geothermal power plant with a capacity to produce 200 megawatt by exploiting the country’s warm groundwater, company officials said Saturday.

Anglo MGH Energy said it has sought government approval to estbalish the plant at Salandar village in the impoverished northern district of Thakurgain.

The Dhaka-based company plans to dig 28 deep tube wells to lift hot steam, whose temperature will be at least 12 degree [thinkgeoenergy: must refer to 120 or more degrees] celsius.

The lifted and pressured steam will be channeled into a turbine which is linked to a generator for turning it to produce electricity.

Officials of the company said they have found ideal sites in Thakurgaon to generate 200 mw of electricity, which they say will greatly reduce acute power shortages in northern districts.

“We are now waiting for the government’s approval for exploration license,” Md Abdur Rahim, a director of the company, told the FE.

He said the company has done primary feasibility studies on the plan and will conduct a final one shortly on a span of 3,555 hectares of land to select the spot for the plant.

“It will be the first geothermal plant in Bangladesh. Our studies have shown that some northern districts are ideal place for harnessing hot ground water to generate power,” he added.

At present 24 countries have geothermal power plants including China, Ireland, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, Turkey and the United States.

According to the International Geothermal Association, the US is the largest geothermal power producer in the world with the capacity of 2,544 mw followed by the Philippines with 1,931 mw.

Experts said geothermal is a renewable energy source and costs less than most of the fuel-powered power plants. It also requires less amount of land and needs only a handful of manpower.

A 200 mw gas-fired power plant can cost $150-200 million dollars. By contrast, a geothermal power plant with similar capacity can be set up at one third of that cost, at the most. [ThinGeoEnergy: these estimates are a little misleading the cost of a plant like this would actually be closer to $400m or more]

Mr. Rahim said the company has recently applied to the power and energy ministry, seeking a licence to produce geothermal power.

Already it has secured favourable opinions from the Geological Survey of Bangladesh, the Ministry of Water Resources and the Ministry of Environment and Forest.

The district administration in Thakurgaon, home to one of the poorest communities in the country, has also cleared the project. “We have sent no objection certificates to the ministries,” said Md Shahiduzzaman, district deputy commissioner.

The company moved to set up the plant following a ground-breaking study by aspecialist at the Dhaka-based Institute of Water Modelling.

Mizanur Rahman, senior groundwater expert of IWM, first came up with the idea to build a geothermal power plant in Thakurgaon after he studied watertemperature of the district for years.

In his study he found that the water coming out of a deep tubewell in Thakurgaon was warmer by at least 12 degrees Celsius than that of any other tubewells.

He also collected data from different countries and has since published a research paper on geothermal resource potential in Thakurgaon.”

Source: The Financial Express