If you are someone who is smitten with the natural geysers of Iceland and New Zealand, particularly, their hot spring-powered spas in the midst of lush greenery, then you should possibly start looking closer home!
While the hot water springs of Western Ghats in Maharashtra are already quite renowned, the fact that these could have immense potential as a source of green energy and jobs that could transform the local economy was not looked into until recently, when a team of Indian researchers set out in that direction.
Led by Trupti Chandrashekhar of the Department of Earth Sciences at IIT-Bombay along with collaborators from IIT-Hyderabad, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology (Amethi), and the University of Florence (Italy), the team studied the entire 350-km stretch along the state’s coastline where these natural geysers can be found in large numbers.
Over 60 hot water springs spread across 18 locations can be found across this region, which falls under the west coast geothermal province (WCGP), one of India’s seven geothermal areas.
Immersed in minerals, the temperature of water ranges between 40 and 72 degrees Celsius!
Interestingly, the geysers in Maharashtra and the Konkan region play a significant role for the local population. For them, these hot springs are not only a source of water but also serve a medicinal purpose and hold religious importance.
However, with these recent findings, a whole new door of opportunities are being projected, in terms of harnessing natural geothermal systems and centring a range of commercial operations along the Maharashtrian coast.
“The west coast geothermal province serves as a ready platform for developing natural greenhouses (similar systems are in place at Turkey, Russia, Hungary, China and Italy), dehydration units for perishable food products (widely used in West Asia and the Schengen region), aquaculture centres and natural health spas (Wairakei, New Zealand, and Blue Lagoon, Iceland),” said Chandrashekhar to The Print.
She further stated that this undertaking could promote the growth of secondary and tertiary industries along with their associated direct and indirect job. “In addition to these uses, the heat from the earth can also be utilised for space cooling and space heating,” she added.
You may also like: Himachal’s 7 Natural Hot Springs Are Perfect for Some Water Therapy
Touted as one of the cleanest and most sustainable sources of power, geothermal energy is derived from the heat of the earth that can be harnessed using pumps dug through deep underground wells. The hot water from these sources could be the next best source for electricity generation if tapped efficiently!
What is more, the researchers are sure that with the rain-intensive topography and a highly permeable rocky geology that has two nearly 600-km-long fault lines along the coast, Maharashtra can emerge as a potent geothermal energy generator.
“A good energy mix is the need of the hour. A source of geothermal energy can serve as a base load to power an eternal source of green energy. India has an immense potential for geothermal resource development. It can generate over 10,000 MW (per day) of power using geothermal resources,” Chandrashekhar added.
At present, these natural geysers aren’t being utilised to their full potential, but if that happens, Maharashtra’s dependence on fossil fuels for energy production is likely to reduce significantly.
You can read more about the study here.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)