Saturday, 13 April 2013

Libya "could produce more solar power than oil"

By staff writers - afrol News, 27 February - Libya could generate approximately five times the amount of energy from solar power than it currently produces in crude oil, according to researchers. This would be achieved from only 0.1 percent of the desert country's landmass.
A study led by the British Nottingham Trent University claims to have found that the oil-rich nation could generate enough renewable power to meet its own demand and a "significant part of the world energy demand by exporting electricity."

Libya is located on the cancer orbit line and is exposed to the sun's rays throughout the year with long hours during the day. It has an average daily solar radiation rate of about 7.1 kilowatt hours per square metre per day (kWh/m2/day) on a flat plane on the coast and 8.1kWh/m2/day in the desert south region. By comparison, the UK's average solar radiation rate is less than half that amount at about 2.95kWh/m2/day.

If the North African country - which is estimated to be 88 percent desert - used 0.1 percent of its landmass to harness solar power, it could produce the equivalent to almost seven million barrels of crude oil per day in energy, the study found. Currently, Libya produces about 1.41 million barrels of crude oil per day.

Researcher Amin Al-Habaibeh, who is leading the Nottingham research group, says that, "although Libya is rich in renewable energy resources, it is in urgent need of a more comprehensive energy strategy. It is difficult to break the dependency on oil and natural gas, not just in terms of the country's demand for it, but also in terms of the revenues that it generates."

"Renewable energy technology is still in its early days in Libya," Mr Al-Habaibeh adds, "and a clear strategy and timetable is needed to take it forward. In particular, work needs to be done to develop the skills and knowledge needed to install and maintain renewable energy systems," he recommends.

The study also found that Libya has the potential to generate significant amounts of wind power, as the country is exposed to dry, hot and prolonged gusts.

"Wind energy could play an important role in the future in meeting the total electric energy demand," added Ahmed Mohamed, a Libyan student at the Nottingham University who worked on the project. "Several locations, including a number along the coast, experience high wind speeds which last for long periods of time."

According to Mr Mohamed, "if Libya could harness only a tiny fraction of the renewable energy resources it has available in the form of solar and wind power, not only could it meet its own demands for energy, but also a significant part of the world's demands by exporting electricity."

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