Your Questions About Renewable Energy Content

Donald asks…

Does Ireland utilize the vast amounts of peat bogs to generate electricity with by burning it?

Does this burning of the peat create additional environmental problems for the air quality in Ireland or directly affect the Global Warming, by sending large amounts of pollutions towards the Ozone Layers?

I am just trying to correctly understand some of the energy needs of the Irish people, from the people themselves, and not what the government or corporations will say.

Honest answers are appreciated, and Thank You!

admin answers:

Okay, here’s the real honest answer. Yes, Ireland does indeed have plans to use peat and lignite (which is almost indistinguishable from peat in many cases) as fuel for electric power plants. I know you didn’t ask for government reports, but to prove this I have to include them.

According to the European technical association of electricity and heat generation, known as the VGB Secretariat, this is true. They report that about 20-25% of the intended new power plant capacity in Ireland as of May, 2006, will be from peat and lignite powered electric generation plants. And, they also report that Ireland is already missing the Kyoto-targets for carbon dioxide by an excess of 22.7%. By 2008 Ireland’s target is to only exceed the Kyoto target by 13%, but obviously burning peat and lignite will not help with that.
Here is the Secretariat report:

An article in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Journal reports the following: (I quote)
“Peat has been used in Ireland for the generation of electricity for over 30 years. A general picture is given of what is involved in developing bogland and producing milled peat in Ireland for power generation. Practice in burning milled peat in Irish power stations is briefly described. Cost data are presented and a cost derived for energy exported from a 45-MWe milled peat fired power station.”

A recent newspaper article in the Belfast Telegraph reports the following: (I quote)
“Between 1984-1986, an Australian company sank 16 bore holes to estimate the quality and extent of the lignite deposits around Ballymoney.

The deposits of lignite are known to extend to the shores of Lough Neagh which is the source of much of Belfast’s water supply.

In 2002, an application was made for planning permission for a mine and a power station on the same site. The land potentially affected extends nearly 8 kilometres from the Ballymoney bypass.

Lignite is a soft, brown fuel which has characteristics similar to both peat and coal. It is found in the United States, Canada, Greece and Germany where it is generally used as a fuel for generating electricity. In Greece, for example, 50% of electricity comes from lignite power plants.”

As for the difference between peat and lignite, it is sometimes indistinguishable to the eye. By definition, peat is “an unconsolidated deposit of semicarbonized plant remains …[with] persistently high moisture content (at least 75%)” and lignite is a slightly more consolidated deposit with a calorific value less than 8300 BTU/lb. Lignite is typically of Tertiary or Mesozoic age, while peat is most often younger. Both of these, when burned as fuel are among the least efficient types of fuel when considered by the ratio of the amount of energy to carbon dioxide output. So yes, while they will not technically affect the ozone layer, they will contribute a huge amount of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and could contribute to global warming.
Source of definitions:
Bates, R.L, and J.A. Jackson, editors, Dictionary of Geological Terms, prepared by the American Geological Institute. Third edition, 1984, page 295 and 372

The Belfast Telegraph goes on to explain that Northern Ireland’s electricity costs are among the highest in the EU, and that the company that has proposed a new lignite-fueled power plant says ” oil was very high in price and there was huge resistance by communities to renewable energy options, such as wind and tidal power.”

Ireland currently has 866 Kw of power generated from wind farms in 19 counties. Http://
Ireland’s total electricity used was about 24 billion Kw hours in 2005, so the wind power is much less than 1% of the total demand in Ireland. The capacity of the power plants that are planned to burn peat and lignite is about 600,000 Kw in comparison. That figure is estimated by me from the Secretariat’s report.

The total numbers for Ireland’s electric generation come from the Energy Information Administration here:

David asks…

Is this Explanatory essay viable enough to be good?

By Luyang Liu
What is Geothermal energy and how does it power Australia?

Geothermal energy is a type thermal energy generated from the Earth. It’s also a form of clean and sustainable energy compared to various of other forms of energy; alternatively, it’s another form of renewable energy. Australia can thus greatly benefit from geothermal energy, due to fact that it has numerous advantages.

Geothermal energy is generated from radioactive decay of minerals within the core of the Earth, and from solar energy absorbed by the Earth. It is evident that resources of geothermal energy comes from miles underground or perhaps even deeper, amongst extreme high temperatures of molten rocks and magma. At the core of the Earth, temperatures may reach over 5000 degrees celsius (9,000 degrees Fahrenheit). Heat are withdrawn and will be generated as electricity.

Geothermal energy is low on cost, reliable and environmentally friendly, and thus geothermal energy is sustainable to our environment. It is considered sustainable because heat extract is spontaneously small compared to Earth’s contents, therefore it doesn’t not affect Earth itself.

Advantages of Geothermal Energy:
There are a wide range of advantages of harnessing geothermal energy. The main advantage of harness geothermal energy is the concept of generating less pollution. Geothermal energy have the potential to reduce reliance on fossil fuel. With skyrocketing prices of petrol, various countries are pushing companies to adopt these clean sources of energy. Geothermal energy can also be used directly and instantaneously, it is evident that people have been using this source of energy for taking bath, heating homes, preparing food and nowadays it is also used for direct heating of homes and offices. There is evidence suggest that geothermal energy also gives a significant cost saving on the economy; geothermal energy generally involves lowering running costs since it saves an amazing amount of 80% costs over fossil fuels. Furthermore, no fuel will be required to generate the power to run the Geothermal energy facilities.

How does geothermal electric plants generate electricity?
Gas that are emitted by geothermal energy is used to turn the blades of a turbine, which then is used to power a generator and produce electricity. It is evident that this process heat energy is converted into mechanical energy, and mechanical energy into electricity.

How can geothermal energy power Australia?
Geothermal energy is rarely used in Australia, nevertheless it’s gradually increasing. There are known potential locations near the center of Australia that have been indicated to contain hot granites at depth which hold optimistic potential for development of geothermal energy. Exploratory geothermal wells have been drilled for experiments for presence of high temperature geothermal reservoir rocks and such hot granites were detected. Above all, geothermal energy productions will eventuate in the upcoming years and explorations are expected to find new locations.

Above all, geothermal energy have the potential is light up Australia with it’s environmentally friendly advantages. We should definitely consider geothermal energy and utilise such renewable energy efficiently.

Geothermal energy = viable and feasible By Luyang Liu

What is geothermal energy?
Geothermal power in Australia?
Advantages of geothermal energy
I am in Yr 9.

admin answers:

Yes, the essay viable enough to be good as per my opinion if we look into the present condition of earth and its fossil fuel is going to be end soon. So finding the renewable energy is the only option we are left with. The geothermal energy is good to use because it is not using any fossil fuel and it uses the heat present in the core of earth.
Geothermal energy is not only the renewable energy we have!
We can also give promotion of other renewable energy like the Solar energy, wind energy, Biomass.
Solar energy is a very good and easy to use renewable energy, due to this its appliances are available in every corner of the world.
We can also try to conserve the natural resource by limiting our energy uses. If we concentrate on use of renewable energy the we can save our environment buy reducing the carbon emission.

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