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Author Topic: Could we capture the heat from bushfires?  (Read 2095 times)

Paul Anderson

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Could we capture the heat from bushfires?
« on: 07/03/2009 11:30:02 »
Paul Anderson  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hi Chris and team,

In some places water is pumped underground where it gets heated and comes back out of the earth as steam to generate power.

Australia is having it's annual bushfires. Where there are firebreaks, could deflectors be set up which would divert heat down holes in the earth and that heat later be used as required to generate power in some way?

What we need is some heat absorbing material or element which could be buried vertically in the soil to absorb the heat.

Regards
Paul
NZ

What do you think?


 

Offline Vern

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Could we capture the heat from bushfires?
« Reply #1 on: 07/03/2009 13:33:51 »
I suspect that the earth would provide one huge heat sink and the heat energy would be dissipated over a large area and so could not be tapped. It would be nice if we could do it though:)
 

Offline daveshorts

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Could we capture the heat from bushfires?
« Reply #2 on: 10/03/2009 09:38:12 »
The big problem is that you would have to preplace essentially a power station all over a bush area, and it would only produce energy when there was a bush fire on top of it, and then most of the heat would go upwards. Conceivably you could build some kind of flying power station which you could position over the top of a fire, but this would still be ridiculously difficult to achieve.

A far more sensible approach would be to harvest the material that will burn in a bush fire and burn it in a conventional power station. Which would both remove the likelyhood of big fires and generate some power, but it still probably isn't economic.
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Could we capture the heat from bushfires?
« Reply #3 on: 10/03/2009 16:34:57 »
Indeed, you may as well just burn a bit more coal instead.

Why would we spend effort trying to harvest energy from deadly fires instead of trying to prevent or extinguish them and save lives?
 

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Could we capture the heat from bushfires?
« Reply #3 on: 10/03/2009 16:34:57 »

 

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