The eco-bubbles of the Eden Project in Cornwall house a variety of environments including Mediterranean landscapes, and tropical rainforests. The creator of the project Tim Smit calls it “a living theatre of plants” – and there are at least 250,000 of them in the bubbles.
His latest scheme is to produce carbon neutral electricity and heat from the vast quantity of geothermal energy stored in the rocks below Cornwall. He believes the area could eventually provide up to 10 per cent of the UK’s electricity requirements. He says that geothermal energy is “completely unobtrusive and there are no or very few environmental bad effects. It’s a very small footprint and you can get the heat out of it for almost as long as you like by just drilling ever deeper once you’ve got to the right seam of heat.” According to Tim Smit, the plant would be a secure, consistent, carbon neutral source of heat and power, which is 100% controllable and on an industrial scale. The movement of the geothermal hot water will drive a turbine to create electricity, at a planned capacity of three mega watts. Smit adds that the beauty of Cornwall is that it has a population of about “half a million souls and we can actually trial all sorts of new ways of living and community energy projects and so on which may be of great use to other people.” Apart from extracting energy from the heat deep below the earth’s surface, the developers also hope to use the hot water – which is a by-product of the process – for community heating. Developers hope the plant could be up and running by 2012. For more information see: www.edenproject.com/media/geothermal-announcement-pr.php