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Which is the best solution, what to choose?

Hungary’s “dependency” on gas is well-known.This fossil fuel accounts for 90% of the heat supply of our buildings. Of course, the current crude gas-based boiler systems are operable may still be operated for several years with renovation and the installation of their advanced control. Though we are aware that crude gas supplies are finite (especially in our country), it is apparently going to be a dominant source of energy for decades both on the national and local (municipal and household) level. However, the growth of its world-market supply cost, the revocation of its state price-allowance, the uncertainties and political exposure of international gas supply and its effect of inducing the global climate change are all aspects which stimulate the ”replacement trends”.

Actually, the fact that the transition to other fossil fuels (for example oil, carbon, fossil-based electricity) is nonsense and expensive and that nuclear energy shall remain the center of long-lasting political debates leaves no other alternative but to improve efficiency by ways of such as:

  • minimalising the losses – using well-sealed openings and applying supplementary insulation to frontage and slab;
  • emplying condensate boilers – maximalising the operating efficiency of the boiler;
  • cogeneration – combined electricity- and heat production;
  • trigeneration – combined electricity- and heat production with added summer climatization;

and/or involving other alternative energy sources such as:

  • solar power – photovoltaic cells to produce light energy and sun collectors for warming up the heating media;
  • wind power – turbines to produce electricity;
  • hydra power –electricity production by using the positional energy of trapped running water;
  • biomass – energy of animal or vegetable origin;
  • geothermal energy – using the heat content of the Earth;
  • waste-energy hulladékenergia – a source of heat energy derived from burning and recycling everyday waste (communal and industrial waste, plastic and rubber waste).

The first two of the abovethough it is important and would be a pity not to use them in places with ideal conditions – are uncertain (the sun either shines or not and the wind either blows or not) and are nowadays rather supplementary power sources.

TheWater plants require rivers, they are extra capital-intensive, though they play an indisputable role in the county’s inland water management and in making rivers navigable (reservoirs, connecting plumbing systems). They rather serve as an important state investment target.

In the foreseeable future, biomass, geothermal energy and waste recovery are likely to serve as the basic sources of energy. Priorities are always influenced by the local circumstances. A combined use of the appropriate renewables could also serve as an optimal solution.

A few words about biomass

Biomass is the collective name of several type of technologies, such as:

  • the production and utilization of biogas – the collection, purification and burning in boilers (heat recovery) or gas engines (electricity production and heat recovery) of the gases originating by the fermentation of organic manure or vegetable derivatives (e.g. silage maize);
  • production of pressed and refined biodiesel fuel from vegetable oil seeds, production and burning in communal boilers (heat recovery) of bio-briquette left over from by-product waste or pellet;
  • baling and direct burning in bale burners of wastes from arable products (straw, maize, sunflower stem, etc.) or production and burning in communal boilers of briquette / pellet (heat recovery);
  • collection, cutting and direct burning in thermal power plants of forestry loppings, stems, fallen waste, rottings (wood cutting combustion), or production and burning in communal boilers of pellet (basically heat recovery but can be applied even in cogeneration);
  • • growing, collection, cutting or pelleting and burning in heat thermal power plants or communal boilers of energy forestry (e.g. acacia, energy osier or energy cane) (basically heat recovery but can be applied even in cogeneration).
  • The advantage of the biomass energy source is that its application is possible everywhere in the country, it recovers wastes which are mainly unfit for other purposes, utilizes areas which are excluded from foodstuff production, requires a recognized, well-known and relatively cheap technology and provides job opportunities.

    A few words about geothermal energy

    The heat released from the nuclear fission in the Earth’s magma emanates to the surface:

    Föld hője

    This enormous and inexhaustible heat capacity, the geothermal energy is utilized in the world and in our country in more and more places and – depending on local circumstances – with increasing efficiency and competitiveness.

    The geothermal capacity of Hungary is outstanding thanks to its relatively thinner continental rock basement and to thermal water, the liquid medium found in even thousands of meters under which is capable of transferring the deep heat energy by a well-known technology with “tanglibe” costs.

    The deep processes are well illustrated by the schematic drawing below (from the 2008 university course of Judit Mádlné Szőnyi (ELTE):

    Mélységi folyamatok

    The below chart shows possible utilization opportunities in light of the temperature of the obtained Earth heat (Lindal diagram).

    Hasznosítás lehetőségei

    Fluids with the highest temperatures according to the chart break out in the form of steam in several tectonic areas of the world.Their combined and complex utilization takes place for example in Iceland, in some parts of the USA, in the Philippines or in Turkey. The first steam-based geothermic electricity generator was put into operation in Lanbordino, Italy in the first half of the last century.

    High temperature media in steam form can be found in Hungary as well (noteworthy is the outbreak in Fábiánsebestyén in the ‘80s) but since lower temperature ranges are more common, the binary utilization (with a low boiling point auxiliary medium – Rankine or Kalina cycle) should be applied instead of direct electricity production - taking into account its significantly lower operating efficiency (approx. 10-14 %). This might also be the reason that geothermal electricity production is not used in Hungary yet.

    However, utilization for balneology and heating purposes have a much longer tradition of the media between 1,000 and 2,500 m depth – especially in the Great Hungarian Plain – such as the so-called Upper Pannonian sandstone reservoirs with lower enthalpy (50 – 110 °C).

    Besides our most popular thermal bathes (e.g. Hévíz, Hajdúszoboszló, Harkány, Mezőkövesd, Zalakaros or the bathes in Budapest, etc.), the horticultures of Szentes have over a 50-year-long history as well. Communal thermal heating has been operated in several towns for 30-40 years (Mórahalom, Kistelek, Bóly, Zalaegerszeg, Veresegyház etc.) and there are almost a dozen of central heating plants utilizing thermal energy as well (e.g. Szentes, Csongrád, Makó, Hódmezővásárhely, Szigetvár, Nagyatád, etc.).

    Should you have any inquiries, our company is at your disposal to share with you our planning and operating expertise. Feel free to contact us.