Geothermal energy in LADAKH || Puga valley

Data collected by AJAZ ALI,

Heat energy continuously flows to the Earth’s surface from its interior, where central temperatures of about 6 000°C exist. The main source of the Earth’s heat is the gradual decay of long-lived radioactive isotopes (40K, 232Th, 235U, and 238U). The outward transfer of heat occurs by means of conductive heat flow and convective flows of the molten mantle beneath the Earth’s crust. This results in a mean heat flux at the Earth’s surface of 80kW/km2 approximately. This heat flux, however, is not distributed uniformly over the Earth’s surface; rather, it is concentrated along active tectonic plate boundaries where volcanic activity transports high-temperature molten material to the near surface.
It has been estimated from geological, geochemical, shallow geophysical and shallow drilling data it is estimated that India has about 10,000 MWe of geothermal power potential that can be harnessed for various purposes.                                               

PUGA VALLEY IN LADAKH a huge source of geothermal energy 
Puga Valley in the Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir is one of the areas in India, that showed significant potential for geothermal energy in early studies by the Indian government. Puga lies in the south-eastern part of Ladakh and forms a part of the Himalayan geothermal belt. This zone shows evidence of geothermal activity in the form of hot springs, mud pools, sulphur and borax deposits.
Currently, Ladakh Renewable Energy Development Agency (LREDA) having more survey about it.
    According to a paper titled Assessment of subsurface temperature distribution from the gauged wells of Puga Valley, Ladakh published in the Geothermal Energy journal in 2017, it is estimated that over 5,000 MWh of geothermal energy is available at Puga at current depths, which could be used for heating, greenhouse cultivation and electricity generation. Studies have indicated that there is a 90% probability that the Puga field could sustain a 20 MW power plant at the current shallow depth of drilling. A 20 MW geothermal plant at Puga could save three million litres of diesel burnt annually in the region at a cost of approximately $ 2 million.
     But battery storage is not affordable right now. There are transmission and distribution losses. Hydropower is difficult here as severe winters in the region freeze rivers and springs. Also, less water is discharged. Adding to these issues are floods and landslides, which lead to water blockages.

That leaves geothermal as a real alternative.

 GOI must help Ladakh Renewable Energy Development Agency (LREDA),so that they get complete information about its depth of availability of geothermal energy in the region .

Uses of geothermal energy;

Geothermal energy can be used very effectively in both on- and off-grid developments, and is especially useful in rural electrification schemes.
Geothermal hot water can be used for many applications that require heat. Its current uses include heating buildings (either individually or whole towns), raising plants in greenhouses, drying crops, heating water at fish farms, and several industrial processes, such as pasteurizing milk.
 some technique (internationally in use)are listed below for best usage og this energy at large scale ;
1. Flashed steam plant
The extremely hot water from drill holes when released from the deep reservoirs high-pressure steam (termed as flashed steam) is released. This force of steam is used to rotate turbines. The steam gets condensed and is converted into water again, which is returned to the reservoir. Flashed steam plants are widely distributed throughout the world.
2. Dry steam plant
Usually, geysers are the main source of dry steam. Those geothermal reservoirs which mostly produce steam and little water are used in electricity production systems. As steam from the reservoir shoots out, it is used to rotate a turbine, after sending the steam through a rock-catcher. The rock-catcher protects the turbine from rocks which come along with the steam.

a best example of its application as;

  All units of the Sarulla geothermal power plant in Indonesia have reached commercial operation, bringing the project to its full 330-MW capacity.
“Ormat believes Asia is a region with significant untapped geothermal potential, and we expect to use the success at the Sarulla plant as a stepping stone to additional opportunities,” Ormat CEO Isaac Angel said in a statement.

Some disadvantages of the geothermal power plant as ;

  1. . Finding a suitable build location.
  2. . The energy source such as wind, solar and hydro are more popular and better established; these factors could make developers decided against geothermal.
  3. . Main disadvantages of building a geothermal energy plant mainly lie in the exploration stage, which can be extremely capital intensive and high-risk; many companies who commission surveys are often disappointed, as quite often, the land they were interested in, cannot support a geothermal energy plant.
  4. . Some areas of land may have the sufficient hot rocks to supply hot water to a power station, but many of these areas are located in harsh areas of the world (near the poles), or high up in mountains.
  5. . Harmful gases can escape from deep within the earth, through the holes drilled by the constructors. The plant must be able to contain any leaked gases, but disposing of the gas can be very tricky to do safely.

Geothermal Research Centres
           MeSy India acts as technical arm to governmental institutions in the conduction of scientific and geothermal research projects, and stimulates new R&D projects in collaboration with Indian national research institutions and international organizations, in particular in the field of techniques and earthquake mechanisms, reservoir-induced seismicity, advanced mining technologies, groundwater production stimulation, use of geothermal energy, hazardous underground waste storage.



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