Posts Tagged ‘geothermal’

The Personal Mega-Sized Eye of Horus: Naomi Campbell’s Eco-Mansion



The Personal Mega-Sized Eye of Horus: Naomi Campbell’s Eco-Mansion

The Personal Mega-Sized Eye of Horus: Naomi Campbell’s Eco-Mansion


Posted 19 September 2011, by Vrushti Mawani, Industry Leaders Magazine,



An ancient Egyptian symbol of protection, royal power and good health, the Eye of Horus has been reproduced in its most physically monumental form on the Isla Playa de Cleopatra in Turkey in the form of Naomi Campbell’s eco-palace.

The 25-bedroom home, designed by Spanish architect Luis de Garrido, reported as being the architect’s gift to Campbell, has been designed to function in a largely self-sufficient manner.

With features that enhance the ability of the building to be self-sufficient in terms of its energy and water needs, Campbell’s new island mansion functions as an off-grid home complete with photovoltaic panels, a sophisticated geothermal system and an interior landscaped terrace.

Eye-ball Home Details

Naomi Campbell’s palatial eco-home, with its over two dozen bedrooms and five lounges, is one of the latest to join the rapidly growing list of eco-friendly celebrity island abodes, like Johnny Depp’s solar hydrogen fuel powered home in the Bahamas.

The large steel-and-glass dome, the eyeball of the Eye of Horus, is light and transparent, letting in natural light and warmth all year round. The intensity of how much light and warmth filter in is controlled by horizontal louvers, landscaping, and glazed windows.

Campbell’s personal Eye of Horus in Turkey has been designed by devising an ingenious system of structuring photovoltaic panels which helps generate a large share of the energy required to run the building. The rest of the energy requirement is met by a highly sophisticated geothermal system and passive design.

The design of this eco-mansion also includes a detailed rainwater harvesting system, while wastewater from the home is treated on site with the use of a biological treatment system, further increasing this home’s overall energy efficiency.

The architect has also tried to ensure that the house is well-ventilated, to address any concerns about the greenhouse effect creating an uncomfortable humidity level. The indoor landscaped terrace on the top floor of this eco-palace further contributes to the home’s superior microclimate.

Architect Luis de Garrido

Architect Luis de Garrido has, over the last few years, been in the spotlight for his signature style of creating designs based on the theme of “artificial nature”.

Luis De Garrido’s bold, yet respectful, design philosophy states “The architect can even surpass Nature, but to do so, they must understand it, take it in, and love it with all their souls.”

De Garrido’s expertise where new-age sustainable architectural technologies are concerned is demonstrated perfectly in projects like GREEN BOX, which is the first modular Garden-House that is prefabricated, can be built in just 15 days, is reusable, transportable, has an infinite life cycle, is bioclimatic, has zero energy consumption, and does not generate waste.

Intermodal Steel Building Units (ISBU) awarded Luis de Garrido the 2008 Architect of the Year Award for his sustainable Bio-climatic architecture, educational symposiums and the innovative award winning architectural designs.



Store CO2 Underground and Extract Electricity? A Berkeley Lab-led Team is Working on it


Store CO2 Underground and Extract Electricity? A Berkeley Lab-led Team is Working on it


Posted 08 August 2011, by Dan Krotz, Lawrence Berkeley National laboratory,


About a year from now, two nondescript shipping containers will be installed in a field in Cranfield, Mississippi. They’ll house turbines designed to generate electricity in a way that’s never been done before. If initial tests go well, the technology could lead to a new source of clean, domestic energy and a new way to fight climate change.

A team led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) scientists hopes to become the first in the world to produce electricity from the Earth’s heat using CO2. They also want to permanently store some of the CO2 underground, where it can’t contribute to climate change.

The group received $5 million from the Department of Energy earlier this summer to design and test the technology.

“This is the first project intended to convert geothermally heated CO2 into useful electricity,” says Barry Freifeld, a mechanical engineer in Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division who leads the effort.

This looks like a maze, but it's actually a schematic of a way to combine CO2 storage and geothermal energy production. Starting with CO2 on the left, follow the arrows to learn how the proposed pilot test will work.

The idea is to inject CO2three kilometers underground into a sedimentary layer that’s 125 degrees Celsius. CO2 enters a supercritical state under these conditions, meaning it has both liquid and gas properties.

The CO2 will then be pulled to the surface and fed into a turbine that converts heat into electricity. Next,it will loop back underground and through the cycle again. Over time, some of it will be permanently trapped in the sediment. More CO2 will be continuously added to the system to keep the turbines spinning.

The technology could help offset the cost of geologic carbon storage, a promising climate change mitigation strategy that involves capturing CO2 from large stationary sources and pumping it deep underground. This enables the burning of fossil fuels without releasing the greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. But it’s expensive.

“Carbon storage takes a lot of power – large pumps and compressors are needed. We may be able to bring down its costs by generating electricity on the side,” says Freifeld.

It also offers a new way to tap geothermal energy, which is a tough sell in arid regions where every drop of water is spoken for. For more than a decade, scientists at Berkeley Lab and elsewhere have theorized that supercritical CO2 can be used instead of water. Their work has shown that supercritical CO2 is better than water at mining heat from the subsurface. But no one has tried to do it until now.

The pilot test will take place at SECARB's Cranfield site in Mississippi, which has hosted a carbon storage demonstration test for the past two years. In these images, monitoring equipment is being installed in the boreholes.

In the project’s first stage, Ohio-based Echogen Power Systems will design a turbine that can handle “dirty” supercritical CO2laden with hydrocarbons and water accrued during its subsurface journey. Scientists from the University of Texas at Austin will analyze the environmental impacts of the process over its entire life span.

Berkeley Lab scientists will use numerical models to predict how the reservoir will evolve over time as more and more CO2 courses through it. They’ll also determine how much energy can be extracted from the CO2 by coupling reservoir models with Echogen’s turbine models.

In the second stage, the team will build and test the turbine. If that goes well, they’ll operate it during a pilot test at the Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership’s Cranfield site, where a Department of Energy-funded CO2injection project has been underway since 2009. The site’s three-kilometer deep reservoir has proven to be an ideal site for carbon sequestration. Much of the infrastructure needed for the test is already in place, including injection and production wells. The CO2 will come from a pipeline operated by Texas-based Denbury Resources.

It’s too early to tell how much electricity the technology can generate in the U.S. That depends on the scale of carbon capture and storage operations and the availability of deep reservoirs that can both heat and store CO2.

The technology also takes advantage of a problem common to conventional geothermal energy. Between five and ten percent of the water injected in these systems is “lost” as it travels through the pore spaces. As this happens, more water must be added, perhaps from municipal sources that have little to spare.

“But we actually want some of the CO2 to become trapped,” says Freifeld. “Our approach relies on this gradual loss as a way to store a power plant’s CO2 underground rather than emitting it into the atmosphere. Our planned demonstration is the first attempt at proving that we can simultaneously mitigate greenhouse gas induced climate change and generate clean baseload power using geothermal energy.”


Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world’s most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab’s scientific expertise has been recognized with 12 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. For more, visit


Additional information:


  • The team members include scientists and engineers from Berkeley Lab; the University of Texas at Austin; Echogen Power Systems, Inc.; and Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organization.
  • Department of Energy news release announcing the Berkeley Lab-led project and several other geothermal projects

World’s first island to run 100% on clean energy

World’s first island to run 100% on clean energy

Posted 07 July 2011, by Melissa Mahony, SmartPlanet (CBS Interactive),

Life without fossil fuel power isn’t just a pipe dream for the people of El Hierro. By year’s end, the westernmost Canary Island aims to generate all of its electricity from its renewable resources. The electric cars, the planners say, will come later.

UNESCO designated El Hierro as a Biosphere Reserve in 2000. Apparently, the island wanted to be even greener. Far flung into the Atlantic Ocean, El Hierro wants to bid adiós to the oil tankers that enable its 44,000-barrel a year habit, and the 18,200 tons of carbon dioxide that come with burning it. Instead, the island will use what it has locally—a lot of wind, a lot of sun, a lot of water, and an old volcano.

The project, first proposed in 1986, combines wind energy and hydroelectricity and adds a dash of solar power. Power from five turbines atop a ridge on the island’s northeastern coast will pump water into the crater of a dormant volcano. When the wind doesn’t blow, they will release the water through four hydroelectric turbines into a basin created closer to the coast. When the winds pick up, the water will climb 2,300 feet to start anew. The upper basin can hold 556,000 cubic meters of water. Swiss engineering company ABB will be integrating the power generated by the $87 million project into the island’s grid.

Called pumped hydro storage, the technology got a recommendation from Energy Secretary Steven Chu last October. Chu suggested building more such facilities in the U.S., where pump hydro was initially used to store nuclear power during off-peak hours.

Together, the 11.5-megawatt wind farm and 11.3-megawatt hydroelectric plant will provide 80 percent of the power for the island’s 3 desalination plants and 11,000 residents. The energy needs of the 60,000 or so tourists who drop by each year will also be met. Photovoltaic solar panels and solar thermal collectors are expected to take care of the remaining 20 percent.

While small, the island of just 104 square miles could make big ripples in the world of renewable energy. The Greek island of Ikaria, which is just a smidge smaller, is reportedly building a wind and water power project modeled after El Hierro’s.

Peter Sweatman of the Madrid-based consulting firm Climate Strategy, tells the New York Times:

El Hierro is an emblematic project. It’s really a role model for other islands, and for non-islands it’s a test case to fully develop the potential for pump storage.

El Hierro is saying that renewable energy will be cheaper in the long run than fossil fuels, and the answer depends on future expected price of oil…But if it’s $100 a barrel, renewable energy with pump storage would be cheaper over 30 years.

Related on SmartPlanet:

Urgent solutions in a changed climate


Urgent solutions in a changed climate


Posted 04 July 2011, by , Inquirer News (Cebu Daily News),

A year after assuming office, how does President Benigno Aquino III and his administration, including the local government units, score in green leadership scorecard?

“For sure, there were some environmental pronouncements and initiatives during the past 12 months,” noted Roy Alvarez, President of EcoWaste Coalition.

Over 50 groups affiliated with the EcoWaste Coalition gave the Executive Department under P-Noy an overall grade of 2.65 points out of 10, “for not showing decisive interest, leadership and action in preventing and reducing garbage and all its attendant problems.”

Plastic is a huge problem,  as shown by recurring floods.  The National Solid Waste Management Commission, which is under the Office of the President, has failed to call for public hearings and list the non-environmentally acceptable products and packaging (NEAPs), as mandated by R.A. 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

EcoWaste Coalition challenged the President to chair at least one full meeting of the Commission,  “secure its budget and set its direction, prioritizing the calling for public consultation” in coming up with the list of NEAPs.

Citizens from Cebu have sent the commission a second Notice to Sue in June to pressure it to move swiftly. Because of the commission’s default,  local government units have to craft local ordinances to ban or regulate plastic.

Muntinlupa City is trail-blazing as the first highly urbanized city to ban plastics in the Philippines. The result is amazing. While the rest of Metro Manila residents again waded in the water-filled streets last month, Muntinlupa remained flood–free.  Its mayor, Aldrin San Pedro, was pleasantly surprised that “the anticipated flooding in some parts of the city did not happen, with rainwater flowing freely through canals and waterways and making their way to Laguna de Bay. Mayor San Pedro cited Muntinlupa’s landmark ban on plastics and polysterene containers, which was implemented early this year, as among the factors that kept the city free from flooding.” (Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 25, 2011)

In Barrio Luz, flooding is never a problem according to Ronnie Saba, administrator of the award-winning barangay, Cebu City’s pride that is now headed by the equally active Kap Rian Tante. The open secret is their much-admired participatory environmental management. The constituents have learned to assume full responsibility for their waste, effectively transforming the garbage crisis into  livelihood opportunities in partnership with the city, business sector and civil society.

We commend the  Cebu City government under Mayor Mike Rama’s stewardship for instilling discipline in waste management through the “no segregation, no collection” policy. The city can do more. It has to stop duplicating the  practice of  collecting the biodegradable and recyclable materials as this is clearly a barangay function.  The incident involving the barangay enforcement officer who issued the citation ticket to a barangay councilor would have been avoided had the barangays been required to assume full responsibility for the collection of these wastes.

The city has provided the barangays with materials recovery facilities, shredders and the salaries for  five barangay enforcement officers. It even buys the organic fertilizers that residents sell on per sack basis for eventual distribution to the farmers.  Such incentives augur well for citizens to be more responsible and follow the law.

Soon,  the spoiled “bratangay” officials, who expect  door-to-door delivery of services from the city in waste collection will be unmasked.  There is absolutely no excuse for them not to do their job. If Barrio Luz, with its space constraints and heavy population can do it, and do it very well, why are other barangays failing miserably in the law’s implementation? The reason is traceable to the lack of leadership in mobilizing the participation of the local stakeholders. There is now the necessity for the mayor, as the supervising authority, to hold the lethargic barangay officials accountable. Once cases are filed against them, expect a more livable city.

EcoWaste Coalition has requested the President to   exercise his supervisory power and authority over the local government units, as the prime enforcers of RA 9003, and to the fullest extent allowed by the law,  hold  accountable the “laggards” among the local chief executives in the implementation of the law. The  DENR, which is under the power of control of the President, should already be compelled to close the illegal dumpsites all over the country.  RA 9003 has been effective for 10 years. It is time for action.

President Aquino’s recent visit to Cebu to inaugurate a controversial coal power plant project drove home a point: he still has a lot to do to be the strong climate leader that this “hottest of the hot spots in biodiversity loss and destruction” badly needs and deserves.

For every new coal power plant being built here and elsewhere, the specter of more flooding, environmental refugees, sea level rise, escalating food prices and social disorders haunts us as a disaster-epicenter country.

Dr. James Hansen, the noted climatologist who brought the issue of climate change to the world, emphasizes that  coal is “the single greatest threat to civilization and all life on our planet.” He urges nations to reduce carbon emissions of 6 percent to 7 percent each year to avoid harmful imbalances in the atmosphere.

Coal and other fossil fuels like gas and oil are considered cheap because their destructive effects to our health and environment are not included in the equation. Coal emits polluting gases that are harmful to people’s health, to our rich biodiversity and severely degraded habitats. Its byproduct, coal ash, contains  hazardous metals such as mercury, arsenic, cadmium and  lead that not even modern technology can remove.

Prioritizing the use of the clean and renewable energy (RE) from geothermal , solar and wind power is a must.  Government has to provide the healthy regulatory environment for RE’s growth and development. RE will pave the way for society to be weaned from the devastating  fossil fuel addiction.  We  subscribe to the proposal of Dr. Hansen that carbon tax be imposed to change the behavior of stakeholders and to  stop our dependency on fossil fuels.

We, the people, have to take the much-needed initiatives to lead the way, in partnership with stakeholders  who understand why they have to be done urgently, now.

Tapping into the Energy of Mother Earth


Tapping into the Energy of Mother Earth


Posted 14 June 2011, by Staff, Globe-Net,

STOCKHOLM,  June 14, 2011 – A new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) shows how to achieve at least a tenfold increase in the global production of heat and electricity from geothermal energy – heat emitted from within the earth’s crust – between now and 2050.

Renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar and geothermal will have to comprise a much greater share of the global energy mix in the coming years if the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is to be kept below 450 parts per million – a key threshold in limiting global temperature increase to 2°C, which leaders agreed to at the UN climate change talks in Cancun in 2010.


The IEA says that through a combination of policy actions that encourage the development of untapped geothermal resources and new technologies, geothermal energy can account for around 3.5% of annual global electricity production and 3.9% of energy for heat by 2050 – a substantial increase from current levels of 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively.

This would be an important contribution to global efforts of reducing carbon emissions, using a sustainable and reliable source of energy that is available all over the world, and does not fluctuate with the weather or season,” said IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka, who launched the report, Technology Roadmap: Geothermal heat and power, at the EURELECTRIC annual conference in Stockholm.


The report is the latest in the IEA series of technology roadmaps, which aim to guide governments and industry on the actions and milestones needed to achieve the potential for a full range of clean energy technologies.


Incentive schemes, databases and permits One key area of action for governments identified in the report is the introduction of incentive schemes that will encourage the development of geothermal technologies that are not yet commercially viable. These include feed-in tariffs, which are payments to anyone who generates electricity for a grid using renewable sources of energy.


In addition, the report stresses that publicly available databases should be developed, which could be used to assess, access and exploit geothermal resources throughout the world. “[This] requires co-operation among geothermal industry groupings, national authorities and research institutes,” writes Milou Beerepoot, the report’s author and a senior analyst at the IEA.


A third proposed area of action outlined in the report focuses on overcoming the barrier of obtaining permits, which are necessary for all new geothermal plants.


“Many countries that lack specific laws for geothermal resources currently process geothermal permits under mining laws that were conceived with objectives other than renewable energy production,” writes Ms. Beerepoot. “Permitting procedures can consist of numerous steps, resulting in long lead times. The lack of regulation for geothermal energy is inhibiting the effective exploitation of the resource.”


The report highlights several ways for governments to address these permit obstacles, including enforcing legislation that separates geothermal resources from the mining code.


Utilising emerging technologies


To date, efforts to extract geothermal energy have concentrated on areas with naturally occurring water or steam. (The water or steam, commonly found near tectonic plate boundaries and often associated with volcanoes and seismic activities, is easily accessible as the permeable rock in the earth’s crust is already fractured).


However, the vast majority of the world’s geothermal energy within drilling reach – which can be up to 5 kilometres – is found in rock that is relatively dry and impermeable. These areas, which are found all over the world and contain insufficient water for natural exploration, are known as hot-rock resources.


Currently, technologies that allow energy to be tapped from hot-rock resources – the best known is enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) – are still in demonstration stage, but the IEA report suggests that governments should provide sustained and substantially high research, development and demonstration resources to plan and develop at least 50 enhanced EGS pilot plants during the next decade.


With these systems, a well is drilled deep into the ground, typically below 1.5 kilometres. Water is then injected into the well at sufficient pressure so as to create fractures in the rock. Other wells are then drilled in order to suck up the water, which has been heated by the hot rocks.


“If these enhanced geothermal systems are developed further, this will significantly open up global exploration of geothermal resources,” said Ms. Beerepoot.


For a copy of the report, please click here


About the IEA

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is an autonomous organisation which works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 28 member countries and beyond.