Marine energy is one of the cleanest types of alternative energies, but it is not produced using fresh water. Marine energy is dependent on tidal waves for generating electricity. Tidal waves are not as reliable as water of the seas and rivers. Therefore, scientists have been looking for a way to produce energy from sea, river and lake water without causing pollution.
There is a town in Netherlands named Duindorp that generates energy through a seawater district heating system. The energy is used mainly for heating the homes in the town. Household heating requires lots of energy. Producing energy for this purpose from a comparatively safer and abundant resource can help in controlling pollution efficiently.
A five miles long chain system of pipes move the seawater through the homes after the uptake pipe draws it out of the sea. In the winter months, the temperature of the sea water falls down to 35-40 degree Fahrenheit. That’s why a central heating plant has been set up that heat the water before circulating it to homes. In the homes, the heating pumps also help in keeping the water warm for regulating the indoor temperature.
In the summer, the temperature of the sea water rises and the central heating plant is not necessary to heat the water. The electric pumps at home are sufficient for this purpose. This system can produce around 15 kWh of power by using just 1 kWh of electricity. This way the rate of carbon emissions have been reduced by half and soon solar or wind energy will be used for heating the water. The cost of installing solar plant and wind turbine has decreased. Encouraged by the results, authorities of Duindorp are considering alternative energy sources for producing energy for heating homes and offices.
Around 800 low-income households are provided with this inexpensive heat generating system. District heating is not something unique in European countries but Duindorp stands out with its system of using seawater for heating. It is a brilliant idea, which should be used by other coastal towns. The Department of Energy of UK has also come up with an excellent idea to produce heat for households inexpensively from river water. They are pitching the idea of using heat pumps for generating sufficient heat from river water for keeping homes warm. According to Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary of UK, this can be the solution to the rising problem of fuel prices in their country.
River and seawater are available in most of the regions of the world. New technologies are being implemented for utilizing these affordable sources of alternative energy.