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IIT Hyderabad analysis says geothermal energy better than photovoltaic energy

The researchers also suggest that a combination of renewable energy technology must be adopted in this era of dwindling fossil fuel reserves and increasing greenhouse gas emissions, a press release from IIT Hyderabad said.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 09, 2020, 03.04 PM IST
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IIT-H
Their study involved lifecycle assessment of renewables. Around 10 tonnes of quartz is needed to manufacture solar cells that can generate 1 megawatt of electricity from Sun. 1 MWe of electricity can support about 20,000 people annually.
Geothermal energy – the use of the earth’s heat to generate power – is better than photovoltaic energy in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, according to an analysis by researchers from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad and Monash University, Australia.

The researchers also suggest that a combination of renewable energy technology must be adopted in this era of dwindling fossil fuel reserves and increasing greenhouse gas emissions, a press release from IIT Hyderabad said.

The analysis was undertaken by Prof D Chandrasekharam, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Hyderabad, and Prof G Ranjith Pathegama, Department of Civil Engineering, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

“While solar power does have benefits over conventional energy sources, is the hype surrounding its apparent ‘greenness’ justified? Solar power is far from the zero-emissions energy source that it is claimed to be,” said D Chandrasekharam.

Their study involved lifecycle assessment of renewables. Around 10 tonnes of quartz is needed to manufacture solar cells that can generate 1 megawatt of electricity from Sun. 1 MWe of electricity can support about 20,000 people annually.

“Imagine how many tonnes of quartz has to be mined to support millions of people in the countries,” said Chandrasekharam. “A Solar pv cell involves two important stages: i) producing metallurgical grade silicon (MGS) and ii) producing electronic grade silicon (EGS) from quartz. In the first stage an amount of 1756 thousand tonnes of CO2 is released, and a similar amount of CO2 is released during the conversion of EGS to ingots,” he added. The total CO2 emissions during the lifecycle of a solar pv cell are about 3312 million kg. This is far higher than geothermal energy source, which emits about 450 g/ kWh generated reports the paper.

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