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How sustainable are thermal power stations and biogas plants?

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Introduction

How sustainable are thermal power stations and biogas plants? The sustainability of an electricity-generating process determines if it uses resources in a way that can provide enough power required for years to come. Ideally, this can be achieved by using only renewable sources that will be constantly available, and once processed, will give an adequate amount of electricity that will consumed by industry, commerce, transport, households and agriculture. I am going to discuss the sustainability of two approaches to electricity production used at present, thermal power plants and biogasifiers. Thermal power stations are used mainly in MEDC's because they are expensive to produce and maintain. They generate electricity by burning coal, oil or gas, which gives off carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and dust. ...read more.

Middle

Thermal power production is quite costly, having to build the cooling towers, extracting fuels and managing offices and computer systems that run and observe the production. The efficiency of this type of power production is quite poor, only 30-40%. However, the production of power in plants like these is successful and feeds enough electricity into the national grid to provide for the needs of a modern MEDC. In LEDC's, a dramatically different process is used to produce power to provide for small towns and villages. Energy in a newly industrialised LEDC is used much more in agriculture and household economies today that ever before. The simple yet efficient biogas plant is used in rural areas because it is appropriate technology that locals can understand and help to maintain the structure and process. ...read more.

Conclusion

CO2 is also a waste product of a biogasifier, but it is argued that it is then used by growing plants and does not add any extra gas to the atmosphere. The small amount of pollution from a biogasifier is incomparable to that of a thermal power station. The main section of the device is underground; therefore you only see the metal canister and brick skirt above ground, although this is quite unattractive, it is small and less ugly than large cooling towers. In conclusion, both power production operations are adequately suited in the amount of energy they produce for that environment. But in terms of sustainability, I think the biogasifier is better. Its use of renewable resources ensures a stable future for this type of production. Whereas a thermal power station will use up fossil fuels soon, and will need a substitute to enable MEDC's to receive enough energy ensuring a steady future. ...read more.

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