While energy becomes more scarce in many developed countries, New Zealand has found a way of harnessing nature to supply a great deal of its power without pollution.
While energy becomes more scarce in many developed countries, New Zealand has found a way of harnessing nature to supply a great deal of its power without pollution. It's converting heat from the major thermal region on the North Island into electricity.
The thermal zone covers an are 150 miles long and 20 miles wide. Underground activity along this belt show itself in many geysers, mud pools and hot springs. The area is still volcanically active.
Steam extracted from the thermal region is piped to a geothermal plant fitted with electricity generators. Once the heat is tapped, it can be used 24-hours a day. Water is pumped from a river to condense the exhausted steam from the turbines, and both the condensed steam and circulating water are returned to the river.
The geothermal plant at Wairakei -- (WY-RAK-EE) -- supplies eighteen-per cent of the energy needed by New Zealand's North Island.
SYNOPSIS: While many developed countries face the prospect of fuel shortages, New Zealand has found a way of harnessing the force of nature to supply a great deal of its power needs -- without pollution. They thermal region of the country's North Island produces heat over a belt 150 miles long and 20 miles wide.
The last volcanic outbreak was in 1886, when Mount Tarawere (TAR-A WEER-A) erupted and devastated a wide area, killing 150 people. The region is still volcanically active.
The Wairakei Geothermal Project is centrally situated in this thermal zone.
The project is based on tapping a vast underground water system that has been heated by very hot, and possibly molten rocks. By drilling anywhere in the porous layers, steam can be found at shallow depths. But it's only by drilling to about two-thousand feet that really high-reassure steam is obtained. Pipelines take the steam to the power station about one-and-a-half miles from the centre of the steamfield.
Power is produce from thirteen generators in a complex that's designed to resist earthquakes.
One advantage of thermal energy, as well as being pollution-free, is that once it's been tapped it can be used twenty-four hours a day.
Up to a quarter-of-a-million gallon of water per minute is pumped from the Waikato River to condense the exhausted steem from the turbines.. while a local water uses underground heat to warm its swimming pool. The thermal energy supplies eighteen percent of the energy needed by New Zealand's North Island.