Tuesday 16 March 2021

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India’s First Geothermal Development Project


Geothermal energy is heat within the earth. The word geothermal comes from the Greek words geo (earth) and therme (heat). Geothermal energy is a renewable energy source because heat is continuously produced inside the earth. People use geothermal heat for bathing, to heat buildings, and to generate electricity.


         Recently on 7th February 2021, India’s First Geothermal Development project was announced in Ladakh.


Some facts on Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir

        Jammu & Kashmir is now a union territory of India with a Legislature. Population of Jammu & Kashmir is 1.22 Cr. On the other hand Ladakh is also a union territory with no legislature. Ladakh is the largest union territory in India. The population of Ladakh is 2.90 Cr.


About the Project

         The Geothermal Development Project will help the potential of natural geysers touching the Puga valley area. Puga valley is the point where this project will be developed. This Puga valley is located in 170 km East of Ladakh. The Agreement of this Project was signed between the Government of India and the Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) a Government run Public Service Undertaking. So before we going to discuss about Geothermal energy, first we have looked on the structure of the Earth.


Structure of the Earth

Geothermal energy, form of energy conversion in which heat energy from within Earth is captured and harnessed for cooking, bathing, space heating, electrical ...

    The Structure of the earth comprises with 4 core.

(1)         Crust- 8 to 40 kms from the earth surface

(2)         Mentle- 2,900 kms from the earth surface

(3)         Outer core- 2,250 kms from the earth surface

(4)         Inner core- 1,300 kms from the earth surface

        Earth’s Mantle has a thickness of 2,900 kms (1.800 mi) making up about 84 % of Earth’s volume. In the Mantle, the temperature range from approx. 200 degree Celsius.


What is Geothermal  ?

Geothermal energy is heat derived within the sub-surface of the earth. Water and/or steam carry the geothermal energy to the Earth's surface. Depending on its characteristics, geothermal energy can be used for heating and cooling purposes or be harnessed to generate clean electricity.

            Geothermal means literally, thermal energy contained within the Earth. Generally speaking, geothermal energy is any form of thermal energy extracted from or store in the ground for later use. Thermal energy is the energy that determines the temperature of the matter and the geothermal energy is present in the rocks and fluids beneath the earth.

        Iceland is the example where they use geothermal energy to produced power.


How is Geothermal energy produced ?

           To produce the geothermal energy, there drilled wells which is deep or more holes into underground reservoirs approx. 1.6 kms. These wells tap steam and not water to drive the turbines. The turbines are in turn linked to electricity generators. The geothermal electricity production was done first in Italy in 1904.


Types of Geothermal energy plant

(1)         Dry steam plants that takes the stream out of fractures in ground and uses it to directly drive a turbine.

(2)         Flash plants, here they pull deep, high pressure hot water into cooler low pressure water. Then the stream is resulting from this process is used to drive the turbine.

(3)         Binary plants, here the hot water is passed by secondary fluid with a lower boiling point then actual which makes it turn into vapor, then this drives the turbine.


Facts about Geothermal energy

§  The largest producer of the Geothermal energy is in the Geysers north of San Fransisco in California, USA.

§  This geothermal energy is also generated in more than 20 countries in the world.


Potential of Geothermal Energy in India

(1)         Puga Valley – Ladakh union territory

(2)         Godavari river basin

(3)         Tatapani – Chhattisgarh state

(4)         Bakreshwar in West Bengal

(5)         Unai in Maharashtra state

(6)         Jalagaon in Maharashtra state

(7)         Rajgor and Myanmar in Bihar

          In India, exploration and study of geothermal field, started in 1970. The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has identified 350 geothermal energy in the country in various locations. The most promising of there in Puga Valley of Ladakh.  The estimated potential for energy in India is about 10000 MW. Puga Valley is located near Line of Control near Pangong Tso lake, Ladakh.


Project announcement and phases of project

         In its first step towards making the strategic location of Ladakh Carbon neutral for clean power. The Union territory administration of Ladakh signed a MoU with ONGC energy Central in the presence of Lieutenant Governor Radhakrishna mathur at Leh. The objective of this step is to become carbon neutral.


The project will be started with three phases

(1)         In the first phase ONGC would drill up to 500 meters to top the steam and hot sulphur water that spews out of the geysers. In this phase 1 MW power will be generated.

(2)         Drilling would be a bit deeper to explore the potential of geothermal energy.

(3)         A commercial plant would be setup in this phase. The estimated power supply would be of 250 Mega Watt in the third phase.

Benefits of the Project

(1)         This would be providing round the clock power supply in the territory.

(2)         Hot water from the spring would come handy for space heating.

(3)         Establishing hot swimming pools would be good as a tourist attraction.

(4)         Ladakh would be self-sustaining economy and it would spread the Government’s Vocal for Local calls.

(5)         The establishment of this kind of plant would open new work avenues for local people.

YouTube link - Geothermal Energy 


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