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  (Source: Recharge News)
Could help the Caribbean island become independent from imported energy

Smaller volcanic islands in the Caribbean have always had potential for geothermal energy use, since volcanoes allow heat from within the Earth to rise to the surface and transfer to water. Just last year, several geothermal reservoirs were discovered throughout the two-island Caribbean nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, which will allow it to produce approximately 50 megawatts of energy. Now, other islands not too far away are following suit.

St. Lucia, a small island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea, is set to create a series of geothermal plants based on an agreement with Qualibou Energy, a U.S.-based renewable energy company. Qualibou Energy signed a 30-year contract with the island's government in an attempt to extract enough geothermal energy to power the island on its own.

Currently, St. Lucia imports most of its energy from Mexico and Venezuela, making the island almost completely dependent on other countries for its energy resources. To make matters worse, most of the energy imported to St. Lucia is petroleum. 

"All our energy is produced from oil, which we import," said Roger Joseph, spokesman for St. Lucia's power utility, who is pro-geothermal energy. "So from an energy security standpoint, this gives us more options."

In addition to providing St. Lucia with independence when it comes to energy, the development of geothermal plants will also help the island obtain cleaner energy. In total, the combined series of geothermal plants expected to be built in St. Lucia would produce an installed capacity of 120 megawatts. This is more than enough energy to power the island. In fact, only one-third of the total energy produced will go toward powering St. Lucia, which has a population of 175,000, while the rest will be sent to power Martinique, a neighboring Caribbean island, via an underwater power cable.

The government of St. Lucia and Qualibou Energy would like to complete the series by 2015, with the first 12 megawatt phase to be completed and generating power in about two years. 



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By Solandri on 8/18/2010 7:25:38 PM , Rating: 2
With sufficient low-cost energy, you can drive most exothermic chemical reactions backwards. There's probably some way to dump a bunch of energy into H2O and CO2 from the air to produce alcohol chains, which we could use as liquid fuel for internal combustion engines.

Plants do essentially that - they take H2O from the ground, CO2 from the air, and energy from sunlight, and combine them to form sugars (CH2O chains) which are very similar to alcohols. The same sugars, when linked in long chains, become cellulose - aka wood. Ferment them and they become alcohol. Cook them under pressure long enough and they turn into petroleum.


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