New energy options for Namibia
Herewith a copy of correspondence [of]almost 13 years ago. With the present Euro crisis and extra high fuel prices, it is to my mind, time to awaken the following dog again.
We heard on an economics broadcast that it is likely that the Rio conference carbon dioxide emission bonus/penalty system is likely to be instituted in the foreseeable future.
Hydrogen burning MHD generators with their 85% + carnot efficiency are ideal to get a leg up on this system.
Should this be combined with the USA piggy back rail/ road motor system and the Indian/Chinese refuse and manure gas generation system at municipal,domestic and farm level, considerable CO2 emission levels savings can be made.
This could earn Namibia considerable CO2 bonuses in the form of hard currency. On the other hand the considerably lower fuel and power inputs, with a high, presently unused, unskilled labour input, will reduce costs and empower the unskilled and economically disabled to produce in the rural areas.
Particularly the low cost energy to pump water and cure agricultural produce is expected to make a sizeable impact.
If a share of the profits is directed to botanical, phyto-psycological and botanical etherealisation, vast hitherto untapped sources of energy will be unlocked.
The University of Namibia, with more students than the local economy can absorb on completion of their studies, can utilise the brain power in post graduates’ research into these matters.
For illumination, [see] Lakhovsky’s relevant research in the book “The secret life of plants” ISBN no 07139 0594 8. I suggest that you make the copy of the MHD section available to the engineers at Nampower. Their engineers I met, were unacquainted with MHD generators and gasped at the carnot efficiency mentioned.
The present threatening fiasco with the desalination plant in Swakopmund, could in my opinion be solved by centrifuging the seawater to remove the suspended solids and photo/phyto plankton. The main operational costs are in the membrane replacement. Here it could very likely be that specially tanned butts of cattle or water buffalo hide would work out at 10% of the cost of the presently used artificial fibre membranes. The leather research institute in Grahamstown should be able to help there. Their freeze-dried silicone-treated suitcase leather process came to mind first. There are several specialised technical leather tanneries in the world which could also help, once the specifications of the permeability factors and osmotic pressure gradients are known.
Should centrifugation be decided on, there are many centrifuges redundant at present, because of the lack of need to remove plutonium from uranium. These machines may be available at low cost.
The Kudu gas field wet gas [must] be pumped ashore at the most convenient site and be catalytically stripped of as much hydrogen as economically feasible. The residual gases being used as a chemical plant feedstock. The hydrogen to be used as fuel for an MHD generator. The by-product or waste product would be water from the power generation. This procedure would supply more electricity to the SADC grid than the proposed Epupa scheme and water as a bonus to the southern coastal area. Further, this would place Namibia in the front of reduced fossil fuel consumption countries.
The following details were gleaned from technical literature and encyclopedias:-
The Peltier power generator, suitable for gas fuel, is without moving parts [and] is called an MHD generator. MHD stands for magnetohydrodynamic.
The power is generated by heat being passed through a tunnel. The side walls are respectively the anode and the cathode. The top is a north-poled magnet and bottom a south-poled magnet. Scientists Day, Dufay, Faraday, Beckerel, Elster, Edison, Thompson, Schlichter, Karelovitz, Langmuir, Rosa, Hatsopoulos and Kantrewitz worked on the development of MHD generators.
These MHD generators have a carnot efficiency of around 85 percent, which is much better than steam turbines. Efficiency is increased if the gas moves faster than the speed of sound through the tunnel. The hot gas has to have one percent of ionizing seed added, so as to render the gas electrically conductive. This basically is thus an electron turbine.
To make the plant relatively small in size, supper conductors and magnetic fields of 4 to 6 Teslas are required. If these are available, 10 to 500 megawatt of electricity can be produced per cubic centimetre of duct.
Avco research laboratory in the USA had a 33 megawatt unit running for many years. In the USSR there was a station under construction in 1992.
I suggest that contact be taken up with the Russian embassy, to get information as to availability, cost, construction time and practical size at bargain basement prices due to the inflation in the USSR.
I think that, as such a scheme will not qualify for EPZ status, it should be in private hands with major groups such as Rembrandt, Sanlam, Metlife and Old Mutual as important shareholders in the, to be created, public utility company. These plants have a long life span and are relatively maintenance free, and thus excellent inflation hedges.