The story appears on

Page A5

April 23, 2011

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Metro » Health and Science

City plans to harness geothermal energy

SHANGHAI is expected to use shallow geothermal energy to heat and cool buildings in the near future, the Shanghai Institute of Geological Engineering Exploration said yesterday.

Experts said the energy comes from 200 meters underground, where the soil and groundwater remain at a fairly constant 25 degrees Celsius year round. Therefore, once a building is equipped with an air-exchange system, the heat can be used to control indoor temperatures.

"If this energy can be harnessed, it can cover 130 million square meters," said Gao Shixian, director of the institute's shallow geothermal energy exploration office.

The institute estimated 1.3 billion families would not need heaters or air-conditioners if this energy was used. Harnessing geothermal energy would also save electricity and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Although installing an air-exchange system costs about 50 percent more than an air conditioner, over time the system would be 30 percent cheaper to use, the institute said.

It is, however, important to protect the geological environment if this energy is to be used long term.

Fang Guo'an, director of the institute, said consuming shallow geothermal energy may change the geological environment.

"If we don't use it properly we may pollute groundwater, which would be a serious problem," he said.

Experts said such energy has been widely used in developed countries since the 1980s. The US environment protection authorities once estimated that well-designed ground source heat pumps can reducer power bills by 30 to 40 percent on average.

Urban planning authorities said they will finish the energy plan by the end of the year. It will include a strict law on energy exploration and usage to avoid possible environmental damage, officials said.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend