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'Exploding Lake' Provides Electricity For Rwanda

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the internal-combustion-lake dept.

Earth 102

reillymj writes "There are three known 'exploding lakes' in the world, where volcanic gases build up near the lake bottom until they suddenly fizz over, suffocating people with huge amounts of carbon dioxide. But the lakes also hold methane and one of them, Rwanda's Lake Kivu, is being actively tapped as a source of natural gas to fuel a power plant on the lake's shore. The government hopes that within two years, the plant will be covering a third of the country's needs. By siphoning off the gas, engineers simultaneously defuse a ticking time bomb in the lake and provide power to local communities."

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This is the stuff (5, Insightful)

Some.Net(Guy) (1733146) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319440)

This is why we have science. Good stuff all around, assuming it doesn't get corrupted.

Re:This is the stuff (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33319656)

I am a chemical engineer from South Africa. We studied this project back in the early 90's, when I worked for the South African national oil and gas exploration company. Economically, it is a no-brainer, as the gas is trivially cheap to exploit. But some corruption, and some genocide, got in the way and so now it has taken 20 years. BTW, the local bottling company wanted the CO2.

Re:This is the stuff (4, Interesting)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 3 years ago | (#33321962)

The takehome for me was the amazing measure of just how small the Rwandan economy is - a single smallish power plant can supply a third of the country's power needs. That's a pretty good measure of how "third" the third world can be. The tiny town of Lake Worth Florida is considering adding 90 MW of capacity to their city run utility's power plant. Compare that with the planned 50MW capacity for the Rwanda plant. Simple math tells me that they plan for 150MW to cover the entire country in two years. Compared with one small town in Florida. And calling Lake Worth a town is generous. It is only a couple of miles long and wide - really more of a suburb of West Palm Beach. Which is sad in its own right - a suburb of a suburb of somebody's second home. (West Palm Beach services Palm Beach, where all of the rich folks have their second or third homes).

Re:This is the stuff (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 3 years ago | (#33322626)

I'm glad that you put it into perspective like that. I suspected that the natural resource was approximately the size of a football field or 2, and that Rwanda was an above average size African country.

Hmm. Before hitting submit, I decided to take a look at a map of Africa [travelnotes.org] , and find the population of Rwanda [google.com] . Wow. I didn't realize how small the place was.

That being said, I'm very happy for them. This sounds like a genuine attempt at furthering themselves. Kudos. Hopefully, they'll have the innovation to try to bring their technology to other places. Then again, according to the summary, there are only 3 of these lakes.

Re:This is the stuff (1)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 3 years ago | (#33323544)

Taking the absolute numbers really gives us ground for comparison. With a population of nearly 9 million, Rwanda is slightly more populous than New York, the largest city in the US [city-data.com] . From the fine article, Rwanda is building to a total generation capacity of 150MW. The city of New York is one of the most energy efficient in the US, [wikipedia.org] probably due to climate and housing density.

Even so, when the air conditioners kick in during the summer they can use 6.9 million megawatt hours [theepochtimes.com] in a single month.

Re:This is the stuff (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 3 years ago | (#33329130)

Thanks for the comparison to NY. I especially like the "6.9 million" number. At first, I thought that it was only 3 more zeros than Rwanda's needs, but not even close.

That being said, now I'm even more excited about this, because it is really obvious that Rwanda is "just starting out" in comparison to us. I hope that they take this initiative and develop it, to start exporting technology to the rest of the world. Maybe they can use their influence to push the rest of Africa into this century.

Re:This is the stuff (1)

riT-k0MA (1653217) | more than 3 years ago | (#33330582)

Interestingly, Africa has the highest growth in GDP in the world, just because there's so little development (and high unemployment) in Africa.

Re:This is the stuff (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 3 years ago | (#33334884)

Yeah, I heard that of all continents, Africa has the greatest potential, because of natural resources, location and a huge labour pool.

Re:This is the stuff (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33327840)

Yes, but will building a power plant stop the locals hacking each other to death? There's a reason these places are poor: the people are too violent and ignorant. If you give them electricity, they'll just come up with even more effective means of commiting genocide.

These places should be left for nature (human nature) to take its course. When the evil people have killed each other, human beings can move in.

Re:This is the stuff (1)

DaVince21 (1342819) | more than 3 years ago | (#33328590)

20 years is way too long. I am glad that things are finally progressing.

Re:This is the stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33319724)

Unfortunately, those nuts at Westboro would say that "god hates scientific progress."

Re:This is the stuff (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 3 years ago | (#33326658)

Nonsense. God is quite specific about what he hates. And the Westboro people aren't nuts, they're actually rather run-of-the-mill Calvinists.

Good idea (4, Funny)

VonSkippy (892467) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319444)

Here in the State's they do the same thing with Taco Bell toilets.

Re:Good idea (2, Funny)

scosco62 (864264) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319484)

Donde esta el bano....

Re:Good idea (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 3 years ago | (#33321356)

El bano esta in el sanitario...El queso is viejo y putrado.

Re:Good idea (3, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319520)

You're close - in the States, we actually generate power off of the Taco Bell grease traps [biodieselnow.com] ...

Re:Good idea (1)

zeropointburn (975618) | more than 3 years ago | (#33320736)

Seriously? Parent is not a troll, people. The link isn't all that informative, but it also isn't goatse.

I do remember hearing stories about outgassing lakes like this many years ago. It was thought that submerging a giant straw and/or circulating water across the thermocline would allow the CO2 to escape relatively safely. As I recall, the article I read about it ended along the lines of 'oh, how terrible it is that nobody will give $x0,000 to make this lake safe!'. I guess now that it is profitable the locals don't have to worry about sudden death by asphyxiation.

Bad Moderations [was:Good idea] (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 3 years ago | (#33322726)

I think that I figured out a possible problem with the moderation system.

Perhaps moderators from different countries are moderating "us". That particular comment wasn't negative, controversial, or political. It is quite a ways down the page. It has a very positive tone. I can only assume that somebody from a foreign country looked at the 2 words, "grease" and "traps", and saw negative connotations. I tutor ESL, and try to learn languages, so I am keenly aware that we can't put 2 words together and then automatically get a correct interpretation of the resulting phrase. Also, many cultures don't use "the", so they might try to use it in English, but not understand the potential meaning. The last potential problem is that the moderator might have the URL thingy turned off: "[biodieselnow.com]". If we don't see that, then we might assume that the link might be goatse, without checking. We could easily check, but still... ;^P

So, in short, perhaps the moderator thought that "grease" = "greasy", which might produce, "You're close - in the States, we actually generate power off of the Taco Bell, which has greasy traps ...".

I'm not letting the moderator off of the hook. Rather, I'm trying to get a clearer understanding of this strange moderation problem that we have.

Re:Bad Moderations [was:Good idea] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33325220)

sage

Re:Good idea (5, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319756)

We also do it with landfill off gassing. It takes a fairly sizable landfill, but the gas is going into the atmosphere anyways, may as well trap it and burn it.

Re:Good idea (1)

konohitowa (220547) | more than 3 years ago | (#33320870)

We also do it with landfill off gassing. It takes a fairly sizable landfill, but the gas is going into the atmosphere anyways, may as well trap it and burn it.

It's interesting that you mention that. It reminds me that we racist, wasteful, redneck, white bred 'Zonies [urbandictionary.com] ' (none of these are my personal adjectives, but I've heard every one of them too many times to keep track), have a number of these systems in place. In addition to the landfill methane capture [wapa.gov] systems (which, last I checked, were somewhat experimental -- although the provided link isn't the only system in place), the solar projects [wikipedia.org] , and the algal oil reactor [wikipedia.org] (which, apparently, died along with GreenFuel Tech -- although the summer heat, based upon my own research, may have played a factor in the Arizona trial), we also have a small scale hydroelectric system put in place by the Salt River Project (SRP).

The desert area around Phoenix has an extensive irrigation system in place. Many of our canals are laid upon the same canals that the Hohokam [wikipedia.org] people laid their canals [waterhistory.org] . The water comes from (primarily) a series of reservoirs on the Salt River. These are mostly fed by snowmelt from the White Mountains [wikipedia.org] (more proof of our white bred heritage). SRP has added small hydroelectric generators to multiple areas where a higher canal feeds into a lower canal. Granted, they do have pumping stations that move from lower areas to higher, so the entire system isn't completely gravity fed. However, it's nice to see them adding the equivalent of a regenerative braking system to their infrastructure.

Re:Good idea (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33320958)

Of course, Hohokam didn't irrigate lawns of urban sprawl so much...

Re:Good idea (1)

konohitowa (220547) | more than 3 years ago | (#33321038)

Let me guess: your girlfriend makes you take the stairs instead of the elevator. You're so green.

Re:Good idea (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33321194)

When it's faster... (which is more typical the greater the density of elevators in any given place)

Statistically I certainly do use 2-3 times less resources than you, for very comparable quality of life.

Re:Good idea (1)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 3 years ago | (#33321982)

You don't get to live in Phoenix, do you? Nothing is comparable to the awesomeness that is Phoenix...

Re:Good idea (1)

Ellie K (1804464) | more than 3 years ago | (#33325062)

You don't get to live in Phoenix, do you? Nothing is comparable to the awesomeness that is Phoenix...

Ahhh, but I DO get to live in Phoenix. Valley of the Sun. Land of the broken dams with burst Goodyear Tire rubber bladders, where the Mexican drug cartels have put a $1 mil price on the local sheriff's head... ah yes, welcome to my home.

Re:Good idea (1)

konohitowa (220547) | more than 3 years ago | (#33327622)

Statistically I certainly do use 2-3 times less resources than you, for very comparable quality of life.

Statistically, you're a 16 year old nerd posting from you Mom's basement. Really. How stupid is that? Statistically then, I have access to 2-3 times the resources than you have, which makes for a significantly better quality of life for me. And that's just as stupid.Then again, if you knew anything, you'd know that the irrigation is for farming. Better make sure you don't wear any Pima cotton shirts. While rock and desert plants are the predominant features of landscaping here, the majority of large grassy areas as well as "lakes" use greywater. However, there are certainly people that have lawns and water them. Typically in their backyards.

Re:Good idea (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33328768)

Ahhh, so after all you don't get that averages, both resource consumption & the results, is what matters here... And no, you don't make use of those extra resources you waste it while chasing...the same results [wikipedia.org] (admittedly my place is beyond what is sustainable, too; but at least not nearly so wildly)

Re:Good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33321450)

and you're more likely to die of heart disease. what's your point?

Re:Good idea (2, Insightful)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 3 years ago | (#33327978)

Isn't it actually environmentally beneficial to burn it? Methane is a much worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Re:Good idea (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33328154)

Right, which is why there's very little drawback to it. You burn it or you capture it and you burn it in a generator or use it in furnaces. In all cases you're somewhat better off for the reason you cite. But, if you use it for heating homes or generating electricity that's somewhat less capacity that you need from elsewhere.

Re:Good idea (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 3 years ago | (#33320164)

superfluousapostropheguysayswhat?

I only kid. It's an easy mistake to make.

Fricken Awesome (2, Funny)

xemc (530300) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319448)

I don't know about you, but I think this is hugely awesome!

It also reminds me of a Stargate Atlantis episode.. I hope it goes better for the Rwandans.

Re:Fricken Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33319534)

Whilst I never watched any of that tosh, are you suggesting they just use a zero point module instead?

excuse me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33319524)

... but won't burning methane for energy contribute to global warming?

Re:excuse me... (5, Informative)

xMilkmanDanx (866344) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319626)

... but won't burning methane for energy contribute to global warming?

Negative. It would be released anyway and methane is a worse greenhouse gas than the CO2 from burning it.

Re:excuse me... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319722)

Wrong. Of course it will contribute to global climate change..just not as such as it would otherwise.

Re:excuse me... (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319770)

Wrong, it's a net negative, the contribution has already been made, this would reduce it by the difference. And probably even more as you can always trap the CO2 and use it for soda instead of generating C02 for that purpose.

Re:excuse me... (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 3 years ago | (#33322754)

How do people generate it for soda?

Re:excuse me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33320058)

It couldn't possibly contribute to climate change. Even if you believe that burning natural gas makes a difference, burning versus the natural carbon cycle is a non-issue; it all gets released eventually anyway.

Re:excuse me... (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 3 years ago | (#33320180)

The second thing you said contradicts the first thing, because it would be meaningless to consider them without their mutual context. The question can only be understood as a comparison of the two outcomes.

Re:excuse me... (1)

neo-phoenix243 (1755766) | more than 3 years ago | (#33320822)

The third thing you said contradicts the first and second things, but only if the second thing is derived from the first thing, because it is meaningless to extrapolate the outcomes without the statistical evidence to prove the contextual comparison. Wait what am I saying?

Re:excuse me... (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#33322104)

The party to the third part, in reference to the third party's part in the second part, which in part parts with the whole of the first part but not the second part, involves only the first party's involvement with the second and third parts, which are parts of an overarching first part that may partly be to blame for part or the whole of the issue at hand, the first part.

Re:excuse me... (5, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319662)

It would be released at some point anyway (methane and also dissolved CO2), but in a much less controllable, much less pleasant way [wikipedia.org] (lake Kivu is mentioned). By siphoning it out gradually, you can not only deal with the danger, but also get some useful energy as a bonus.

Also, methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, so burning it prior to release actually lessens overall impact.

Re:excuse me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33320258)

Water vapor is an even more potent greenhouse gas. We should burn the lake, before it has a chance to evaporate into the atmosphere

Re:excuse me... (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#33322108)

Smoooooooooke on the waaaaaterrrr....

And fire in the sky-ay...

Re:excuse me... (1)

grolaw (670747) | more than 3 years ago | (#33320268)

FWIW:
Methane,
    H
H C H
    H

Carbon dioxide

O=C=O

The energy necessary to sever 2Oxygen from Carbon is orders of magnitude greater than breaking Methane into 4H2-O + C-O2

Re:excuse me... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33320398)

Add

O=Ta=O

And you end up with a reduction in the form of

H-O-T-C-O-C-O-A

a delicious, and more useful compound, although possibly not in much demand in Rwanda.

Re:excuse me... (1)

janwedekind (778872) | more than 3 years ago | (#33322438)

Thanks for the link. Interesting article.

Carbon credits? (1)

Velox_SwiftFox (57902) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319532)

First, because the carbon was already really in the environment, second, because the methane is a much worse greenhouse gas if released unburned?

The United Kingdom has a similar program (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33319572)

They are generating electricity from the exploding penguin on top of your television.

Burma! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33320158)

Sorry, I panicked.

FINALLY! (1)

The Hatchet (1766306) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319592)

I have been advocating this position since I first learned about the exploding lakes from the science channel in 8th grade! I am very glad someone finally got around to doing it. If only there was something they could do to stop the carbon dioxide eruptions.

Re:FINALLY! (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319760)

Yeah, finally...and happening for around a decade. [bbc.co.uk]

Re:FINALLY! (1)

The Hatchet (1766306) | more than 3 years ago | (#33320090)

There is a big difference, venting it into the atmosphere still releases it into the atmosphere. I have been advocating collecting it and using it to generate power in these areas. I am glad they are finally doing something with it.

Re:FINALLY! (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33320242)

There's very little difference - you can't do all that much with CO2 (except perhaps some small turbine at the end of shaft, which I'm pondering in other comment), which is by far the main culprit in those lakes & for which you were most hoping for a solution...well, it's here for some time. It's all released into the atmoshpere anyway; just in a controlled, more gradual fasion & finding some use in the process.

Re:FINALLY! (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 3 years ago | (#33321704)

I have been advocating this position since I first learned about the exploding lakes from the science channel in 8th grade! I am very glad someone finally got around to doing it. If only there was something they could do to stop the carbon dioxide eruptions.

Worse than the CO2 is the methane. As a greenhouse gas it is more than 20 tymes as potent as carbon dioxide, and it no less dangerous if breathed in.

Falcon

Re:FINALLY! (1)

The Hatchet (1766306) | more than 3 years ago | (#33321762)

Yea, because the CO2 is just a white cloud that kills everyone, but Methane is explosive. The lake would literally explode in a fireball. Kinda makes you realize where some ancient myths came from. Reality is always more fucking awesome than the shit people make up.

Re:FINALLY! (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#33322138)

because the CO2 is just a white cloud that kills everyone, but Methane is explosive. The lake would literally explode in a fireball.

While the CO2 would be dangerous, the methane would need to be heated or sparked to ignition. A volcanic eruption could cause such an event, but that isn't the only thing that could trigger a Limnic eruption. In essence, it's not a certainty that the lake would 'explode in a fireball'.

Re:FINALLY! (1)

The Hatchet (1766306) | more than 3 years ago | (#33322364)

Large quantities of nearly pure methane drifting over villiages that aren't exactly high tech. I wouldn't doubt that someone has a fire going. Plus, methane spontaneously combusts in the presence of oxygen, as the heat needed is lower than room temp. Especially lower than African regular temp.

So yes. A fireball.

Re:FINALLY! (1)

jbengt (874751) | more than 3 years ago | (#33325248)

Plus, methane spontaneously combusts in the presence of oxygen, as the heat needed is lower than room temp.

Then why do I need a pilot light (or spark ignition) on my natural gas burning appliances?

Re:FINALLY! (1)

The Hatchet (1766306) | more than 3 years ago | (#33329776)

Because you're not using methane, you are using a combination of different gaseous organic compounds. Methane is the most simple of them, consisting of a single carbon and 4 hydrogen. Other natural gasses, including propane, octane, heptane, among others are also present in the mix, kind of like crude oil containing many different organic carbon chains. Pure methane has the lowest temperature for combustion that is below room temperature, in a mix where it is the minority it will not explode. Just ask any chemist, they will tell you the same.

Also, I am sure everyone would prefer it that if you are going to ask a stupid question you at least try to find the answer to it first, as me and the other millions of people that actually have a clue would rather waste less of our time explaining simple things that idiots feel should be explained to them because they don't have a clue. The same applies to religion, evolution and a million other important topics.

Re:FINALLY! (1)

jbengt (874751) | more than 3 years ago | (#33372160)

You are wrong.
Natural gas at the wellheads is often 85% to 95% methane, with a tendency to have carbon dioxide and nitrogen, among other things, mixed in. The suppliers tend to remove the non-combustibles as well as the ethane, propane, butane, etc. from the gas delivered to you, which will usually be almost pure methane. (They can sell most of the non-methane products separately for a profit, even, in some cases, the carbon dioxide.)
Also, Methane has a narrow range of flammability, from 4%+ to 17%- in air.
Finally, methane has an ignition point above 580C, so it isn't going to spontaneously burst into flames.

Re:FINALLY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33322168)

CO2 is not dangerous at all if breathed in so I'm not sure what you're implying there.

Re:FINALLY! (1)

jbengt (874751) | more than 3 years ago | (#33325322)

CO2 is not dangerous at all if breathed in so I'm not sure what you're implying there.

It is dangerous in high enough concentations. I believe that the OSHA limit for 8-hr average exposure is 5,000 ppm and it is considered acutely toxic at levels above 4% or so.

CO2 (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 3 years ago | (#33373274)

CO2 is not dangerous at all if breathed in so I'm not sure what you're implying there.

It is dangerous in high enough concentations. I believe that the OSHA limit for 8-hr average exposure is 5,000 ppm and it is considered acutely toxic at levels above 4% or so.

Put that way everything is dangerous in high enough concentrations. Methane will cause asphyxiation in lower concentrations than CO2 will. For that matter carbon monoxide, CO, is more dangerous than carbon dioxide, ask NASCAR [nascar.com] drivers.

Falcon

Could use the CO2 to generate electricity, too (5, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319596)

When the water is brought up in a pipe to syphon out the dissolved CO2, you only need a small initial "push" - afterwards the bubbling of gas forces the flow / gives you a fountain [wikipedia.org] . Why waste it? Seems like an ideal opportunity for small, simple turbine solutions...

Re:Could use the CO2 to generate electricity, too (1)

rockNme2349 (1414329) | more than 3 years ago | (#33321934)

Well for one, that's not a huge pressure head to generate electricity on a large scale. When you see dams they are so tall to generate enough pressure to make large scale energy harvesting feasible. It's also possible that by trying to harvest the energy, you'll disrupt the siphon's flow; although I don't have any backup for that claim, it's just a guess.

Secondly, I'd wager that if they're pulling the methane out of the lake and burning it that you remove most of the source for the dissolved CO2 anyway.

Re:Could use the CO2 to generate electricity, too (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 3 years ago | (#33322148)

Sounds like a job for Mentos.

Re:Could use the CO2 to generate electricity, too (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 3 years ago | (#33322782)

If they're going to push the water up, then they should create a fountain. They could take it a step further, by creating an art project, and then charging admission.

Bring on Johnny Fartpants! (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319686)

Where are the Brits, when you need them? They should be the world experts with this technology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Fartpants [wikipedia.org]

Re:Bring on Johnny Fartpants! (1)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319764)

NICE! I see your Johnny Fartpants and I raise you a Mr. Methane: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Methane [wikipedia.org]

Personally, the summary reminded me of a Frank Zappa lyric, which I will boldly use now without permissions:
"There are three things that smell like fish. One of them, is fish. The other two..."

And finally; HOLY SHIT!!1! They have a bomb in the lake! Won't someone please think of the fish?

From the second article: (5, Interesting)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319716)

quote 1;
The world's only two other known "exploding lakes", Monoun and Nyos, both in Cameroon, overturned in the 1980s. The clouds of carbon dioxide that burst through from the deep water left about 1,800 people dead from asphyxiation. But Lake Kivu is nearly 2,000 times larger than Lake Nyos, and is in a far more densely populated area. Cindy Ebinger, a professor of earth sciences at the University of Rochester in the US, who co-authored a study earlier this year that described Kivu as possibly "one of the most dangerous lakes in the world", said: "You don't even want to think about the scale of the devastation that could occur."
quote 2;
To harvest the methane, heavy water is sucked up through a pipe to the barge, where the liquid and gases are separated. The gas then enters a "scrubber" that separates the methane and carbon dioxide. Ebinger said reducing the overall concentration of gas in the water was a positive move, but warned that more studies were urgently needed to assess the potential environmental impact, especially relating to the unused water and carbon dioxide pumped back into Lake Kivu from the barges.
quote 3;
"With so many projects, if you don't understand everything, you can solve one problem and create three more," she said.
quote 4;
Regardless, Rwanda is proceeding at great speed".

Erm, is it just me or is there a lengthy "whatcouldpossiblygowrong" in there, Mrs. Ebinger?

Re:From the second article: (5, Insightful)

maxwells_deamon (221474) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319996)

The problem here is that is will blow at some time in the future without help. It may be triggered by a volcano or some other random event. It will eventually go off all by itself.

If you ignore it the potential just gets larger.

Creating exploding lakes for fun and profit (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319754)

What are the possibilities of turning a somewhat "normal" lake (probably near enough to a volcano) into an exploding one? Politicians could even use the "think on the children" wildcard to justify that, if is somewhat possible with not so high investment.

Re:Creating exploding lakes for fun and profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33319946)

"Think of how many children this lake could kill if something goes wrong!" ...just not seeing that angle, sorry.

Re:Creating exploding lakes for fun and profit (1)

TopSpin (753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33320080)

turning a somewhat "normal" lake (probably near enough to a volcano) into an exploding one?

It's already being done. The gas industry is experiencing a boom in the US at the moment because NG creates less CO2 than coal when burned and new recovery techniques are making known reserves economically recoverable. One of these new techniques is Hydraulic Fracturing.

Fracking breaks rock formations to release reservoir contents for recovery. One consequence of this is that nearby aquifers (subsurface water) can become contaminated with hydrocarbons. This has produced cases of benzine flavored water appearing at residential taps.

Inevitably some lake will eventually accumulate a bunch of CO2, fizz over and suffocate waterfront property owners... Cue green hysterics and indignant congress folk. Some negligent company will be singled out for public outrage. Some clutch of lawyers in a government agency will be found snoozing and be given a pass.

Re:Creating exploding lakes for fun and profit (2, Interesting)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 3 years ago | (#33320866)

Don't forget that the chemicals that they are pumping in to break up the rock formation include carcinogens, neurotoxins, and other nasty, nasty chemicals. They 'assume' they will not come back out and contaminate the aquifers. This is a bad, bad practice.

Re:Creating exploding lakes for fun and profit (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#33322150)

Cue green hysterics and indignant congress folk. Some negligent company will be singled out for public outrage. Some clutch of lawyers in a government agency will be found snoozing and be given a pass.

This sounds familiar...a little company called BP, and a government agency called the Minerals Management Agency, if I recall. It's how all these things go, even though there usually are others to blame aside from the negligent company, and the government agency given a pass might just end up reorganized or renamed.

Misread (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319818)

Am I the only one who read

engineers simultaneously defuse a fucking time bomb

?

Re:Misread (1)

winomonkey (983062) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319940)

I am going to step out on a limb here and guess ... yes?

Re:Misread (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 3 years ago | (#33320036)

I feel like T-Rex in dinosaur comics right now. And it's AWESOME.

Re:Misread (1)

DaVince21 (1342819) | more than 3 years ago | (#33330844)

Should've said frigging, then, not fucking.

Santa Barbara (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33319914)

There is a lot of oil off the coast of Santa Barbara. It seeps from the sea floor continuously from natural channels and oil sheen can easily be seen from the air. There was an attempt to drill this oil in the 60's, but in 1969 an oil rig blew out and polluted the coast badly. No oil/gas development has been permitted since.

One way to stop the natural seeps would be to drain the reservoir the same way these 'exploding lakes' may be drained.

Fire up the flame throwers.

Such a poor country... (4, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#33320022)

What struck me in TFA was the scale of the project. 3.6 MW will provide 4% of the whole country's electricity needs.

To put it into perspective, the largest power plant in the world, Itaipu dam, has a 14000 MW capacity.

Re:Such a poor country... (1)

FishTankX (1539069) | more than 3 years ago | (#33320800)

Actually, isn't the largest power station in the world the three gorges dam? Currently they're missing about 4GW of the 22GW max installed capacity, but that should still put it over itaipu.

Re:Such a poor country... (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33321394)

Actually, isn't the largest power station in the world the three gorges dam?

Evidently not [wikipedia.org] .

The dam is the largest operating hydroelectric facility in terms of annual generating capacity, generating 94.7 TWh in 2008 and 91.6 TWh in 2009, while the annual generating capacity of the Three Gorges Dam was 80.8 TWh in 2008 and 79.4 TWh in 2009[1].

- RG>

Re:Such a poor country... (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 3 years ago | (#33321804)

Actually, isn't the largest power station in the world the three gorges dam?

Evidently not [wikipedia.org] .

The dam is the largest operating hydroelectric facility in terms of annual generating capacity, generating 94.7 TWh in 2008 and 91.6 TWh in 2009, while the annual generating capacity of the Three Gorges Dam was 80.8 TWh in 2008 and 79.4 TWh in 2009

Evidently not [bbc.co.uk] :

"The 11,000 MW dam would be third largest in the world, after the Three Gorges in China and Itaipu, which is jointly run by Brazil and Paraguay."

Here's another source: The Top 100 - Part I The World's Largest Power Plants [industcards.com] .

Falcon

TWh can't be compared to TW (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33323788)

It doesn't help trying to compare TWh and TW as we have no clue how many hours the things are running for.
Hydro is perfect for covering peaks because it comes up to full capacity within minutes instead of the hours required to start up with coal/oil or nuclear, so it is very likely that not all of those hydro units are not running all of the time.

peak generation (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 3 years ago | (#33373394)

Hydro is perfect for covering peaks because it comes up to full capacity within minutes instead of the hours required to start up with coal/oil or nuclear, so it is very likely that not all of those hydro units are not running all of the time.

Natural gas also is good for peak generation, for the same reason, electrical generation in natural gas power plants can be quickly ramped up if not already at full production.

Falcon

Re:Such a poor country... (1)

FishTankX (1539069) | more than 3 years ago | (#33322848)

Well, wikipedia contradicts itself then, with this excerpt.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_gorges_dam#Generator_installation_progress [wikipedia.org]

"The 12 south side generators are also in operation. No. 22 began operation on June 11, 2007 and No. 15 started up on October 30, 2008.[3] The sixth (No. 17) began operation on December 18, 2007, raising capacity to 14.1 GW, finally surpassing Itaipu (14.0 GW), to become the world's largest hydropower plant.[32][33][34][35]"

Apparently the Itaipu article is out of date...

electricity needs (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 3 years ago | (#33321758)

What struck me in TFA was the scale of the project. 3.6 MW will provide 4% of the whole country's electricity needs.

Except it doesn't say that. TFA says that it supplies "more than 4% of the country's entire supply" not it's needs. Currently only "one in 14 homes have access to electricity". Demand will rise to drive electrical needs higher.

To put it into perspective, the largest power plant in the world, Itaipu dam, has a 14000 MW capacity.

Again wrong. Three Gorges Dam [wikipedia.org] in China is the "world's largest electricity-generating plant of any kind." The "electric generating capacity of the dam will eventually reach 22.5 GW."

Falcon

Good riddance to the badly mismanaged '00's. (1)

RField7 (1883344) | more than 3 years ago | (#33320222)

Those thinking about long-term recovery, know the environment will be a big winner in the conversion to biofuels & biopower -- a cool site; Balkingpoints ; incredible satellite view of earth

Need more... (1)

ZirconCode (1477363) | more than 3 years ago | (#33320708)

Need more Vespene Gas.

what amazing change this will provide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33321008)

"within two years, the plant will be covering a third of the country's needs"...or over FIVE kilowatt hours of electricity!

??? pilot error ??? (0, Offtopic)

FragHARD (640825) | more than 3 years ago | (#33321578)

From the article it sounds like it was still pilot error... pilots forgot to turn off slats.

It's like me in the bath.... (1)

dogzdik (1700552) | more than 3 years ago | (#33322160)

With my hairy anus and a box of matches.

Hydrocarbons for local needs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33322476)

That is wrong. Hydrocarbons were a God-given gift to the US. They're stealing our gas, undermining our non-negotiable lifestyle. Nuke 'em! From orbit!

How does that city exist? (3, Funny)

Posting=!Working (197779) | more than 3 years ago | (#33323892)

3BR, 2BA brick house in great neighborhood, large porches and patios, 1 acre fenced yard with pool, conveniently located near schools, bus lines, restaurants, lake that occasionally explodes and kills everyone, city parks. New carpet! $175,000.

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