Berlin (AFP) Sept 9, 2009
An ambitious project was unveiled in Germany on Wednesday to install mini gas-fired power plants in people's basements and produce as much electricity as two nuclear reactors within a year.
The Hamburg-based renewable energy group Lichtblick and its automaker partner Volkswagen say the plants would produce not only heating and hot water but also electricity, with any excess power fed into the local grid.
The two firms said the concept of "SchwarmStrom" (literally, "swarm power") would allow Germany to abandon nuclear and coal power stations sooner and help compensate for the volatility of renewables like wind and solar power.
The plants also reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions by up to 60 percent compared to conventional heat and electricity generation, they added in a joint statement.
In the coming year the programme will install 100,000 of the mini plants, producing between them 2,000 megawatts of electricity, the same as two nuclear plants, Lichtblick and VW said.
"SchwarmStrom is revolutionising power production in Germany. It clears the way for more renewable energy and an exit from power from nuclear and coal," the statement added.
"The home power plants together form a huge, invisible power station that doesn't make the countryside ugly or require additional infrastructure."
The project "is thoroughly feasible if the project reaches the forecast size," Claudia Kemfert of the DIW research institute told AFP.
She added by way of comparison that "just getting rid of incandescent light bulbs would be the same as shutting down one nuclear reactor."
Gas plants have an advantage over nuclear power stations in that the heat produced by the latter is wasted, the DIW energy expert said.
But "the most ecological would be to feed these mini-plants with biogas" rather than natural gas, Kemfert noted.
Lichtblick said another advantage of its plan was that tens of thousands of generators could be mobilised to meet a surge in demand or if drought made it hard to cool nuclear plants or a calm spell idled wind turbines.
VW will contribute to the project by providing a gas-powered engine similar to one used in its popular Golf model.
But LBBW auto analyst Stefan Sigrist told AFP: "This is mainly a marketing offensive. It is chic for VW to bask in a greener light."
Although the generators are not a new concept, the project is novel in that Lichtblick would retain control over the plants after their installation.
Households would pay around 5,000 euros (7,250 dollars) to have the generators set up along with an appropriate heating system.
But individuals would then pay a lower price for heating and receive a modest "rent" for hosting the generator, as well as a bonus at the end of the year calculated on electricity revenues that resulted from Lichtblick's sales.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com
Thin Film Laser Resistance Competition
Bellingham WA (SPX) Sep 04, 2009
Results of a thin film laser damage competition at the SPIE Laser Damage Symposium (formerly Boulder Damage) this month will provide perspective on how the industry is doing with the development of high laser resistance coatings. The annual event is marking its 41st year in 2009, and will be held 21-23 September at the National Institute of Standards and Technology facility in Boulder, CO ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2009 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|