International conference on alternative energy sources begins in Turkmenistan

The conference brought together guests from 27 countries including Australia, Japan, Asian, European, American, Africa and other countries. The list of foreign participants feature scientists, members of the Academies of Sciences, heads of universities, research organizations and companies, representatives of the International Solar Energy Center, the International Council of Solar Energy and others.

The delegation of Turkmenistan to the conference includes specialists of research institutions, universities and other entities relevant to the topic of the conference. During the two-day forum participants will discuss issues related to the use of solar and wind energy and alternative energy sources.

"We view alternative energy sources, rightly referred to as "energy of the future", as a priority area for the further modernization of the national fuel and energy complex," President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov stressed in his welcoming address to the forum participants.

Speaking about prospects of "green technologies" in Turkmenistan, he noted that "the range of use of alternative sources of energy in the active development of desert areas adjacent to the man-made sea in the Karakum desert – the Turkmen Lake, as well as the implementation of such large-scale project as the establishment of the national tourist zone Avaza on the Caspian Sea coast will be significantly expanded."

Turkmenistan has the abundant reserves of hydrocarbon resources as well as inexhaustible reserves of natural renewable energy. The specialists of the Gun (Sun) scientific production association calculated that with the current coefficient of efficiency of solar photoelectric cells and average annual intensity of solar radiation, i.e. 600 Watt per square metre, a solar electric power plant with the active area of several dozens of square kilometres was capable to generate energy produced annually by all power stations in Turkmenistan, i.e. about 14 billion kWt/h.

The association affiliated with the Supreme Council for Science and Technology under President of Turkmenistan is the only one in the CIS engaged in a research in the use of solar and wind energy. The reforms initiated by the Turkmen leader in the sphere of education and science provided the specialists and scientists, who designed innovative technologies, with the opportunity to conduct a research in the topical problems. In the nearest future with active assistance of the Gun scientific production association the renewable energy will be ‘introduced’ into the life of our society and be widely used in supplying the social infrastructure. In future, the use of non-traditional energy sources can be a priority in power engineering.

In future the annual energy potential of the renewable energy sources in Turkmenistan estimated at 110 billion tons of equivalent fuel a year will be of great demand. According to scientists, there are the regions where to use the alternative energy in the desert region of the country, i.e. over 86 percent of the territory, will be reasonable and cost effective without damaging the environment.

The Gun scientific production association has accumulated profound experience and developed the innovative technologies. Some years ago the local specialists conducted the large-scale experimental research in the use of alternative energy in various fields – science and industry. The specialists designed the solar zone melting furnaces to produce fine metals used in the electronic devices of space stations, tested thermo-insulating shell in the furnace, engaged in designing the space technologies.

The scientists designed and tested the innovative facilities consuming the solar and wind power for the industrial purposes. In particular, they designed the experimental facility with the solar phytobioreactors producing micro algae. The facility is capable to produce hundreds of kilograms of the valuable biological food additives as powder, paste or liquid to feed birds and animals.

A solar dryer designed by the local specialists is capable to process within several days and store perishable vegetables and fruits for a long time. A solar desalination unit designed by the local specialists desalinates salt water of any salinity and is capable to work autonomously in the remote desert regions.

Working on the problems of electrical power and water supply to the cattle farms in the Karakum Desert the scientists designed the unique sunlight facility which can be used in the remote pastures. This autonomous facility is capable to supply electrical power, hot and cold water, and dinking water a brigade of shepherds pasturing up a hundred-head flock of sheep for a year.

At present, in Bikrova settlement near Ashgabat the scientists are engaged in testing the elements of the solar-and-wind facility to supply electric power to two apartment houses in the Gyzylsu Island in the Caspian Sea. At the request of the Balkanenergo Production Association, the scientists designed and assembled a wind turbine with the capacity of 5kWt, which will supply electric power to the sunlight sea-water desalination system including the pumps, reservoir-distillate accumulator and UV water disinfection unit, which designed specially for the facility.

The experimental facilities designed at the Gun scientific production association are easy to operate, maintain and transport. The experimental facilities can be made from the local materials. These characteristics make them irreplaceable for the use in the remote regions of the country. Construction of the desalination and power plants consuming the solar and wind energy under the desert conditions requires no solid investments.

The specialists of the Gun scientific production association think the local climatic and natural conditions are exceptionally favourable for wide use of alternative energy. The sunshine period in Turkmenistan lasts 2,768-3,081 days a year – almost all year round. In the Caspian region the wind velocity is high enough to enable the wind power plants to operate steadily in the course of year. The profound potential to be used in the desert and mountainous areas as well as the oases to supply hot water, electric power to household appliances, radiotelephones of traffic police and security agencies, to illuminate roadway markers, is available.

Solar collectors can be used to design the autonomous facilities to supply heat and hot water to suburban houses, holiday centers, the regions with the public recreation zones and in particular, the Avaza national tourism zone. By the way, the Gun scientific production association implemented two UNESCO projects two years ago. The association designed the projects to create the so-called ‘solar village’, where the solar power facilities will generate energy to be consumed in the life-support systems. Such projects can ensure ecological security of the Avaza National Project and the projects on creation of public recreation zones.

With assistance of the Supreme Council for Science and Technology under President of Turkmenistan the scientific production association designed the strategy of using the renewable energy sources stipulating for implementation of the solar and wind power potential to fulfill the important tasks of ecological, economic and social development. These include the specific steps to convert solar power into electrical and low-grade thermal energy and to use the developments in practice. For example, the scientific production association is planning to install the complex power plants with the solar photovoltaic power plants, solar collectors, photobioreactors, dryers, desalination units and recycling units in the settlements and at the cattle farms.

According to the scientists, further advancement of the solar power conversion technologies will enable to gain the indisputable advantages for the national energy sector. Thus, the Gun scientific production association is planning to conduct the scientific research and to design the technology of producing multicrystalline silicon from the local materials in the solar furnaces. The scientists are planning to design the experimental technology of manufacturing the elements of the wind-driven generators from the materials resistant to the extreme conditions of the arid zones and other facilities to produce cheap power.

The scientists believe that the alternative energy source they design will be of great demand, an effective and accessible power-conservation feature ensuring ecological security in Turkmenistan where science is a priority of the national development policy.