North Canterbury thermal pools masters art of turning methane gas from thermal water into electricity

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools have achieved a New Zealand first - by converting waste product into power.

After years of trial and error, the North Canterbury pools have now mastered turning methane gas from the thermal water into electricity.

Hamner Springs operations manager Neil Wilson said, "It is a waste and we were continually getting asked what it was and why we were doing it and why we weren't using it".

The machine, operated by a cell phone app. is the result of 11 years of work and a $300,000 investment.

Mr Wilson said the contraption, which has a "turbine and capacitors and stuff that control the power", turns the methane from a deep thermal water bore that supplies the hot pools into electricity.

"It's pretty exciting, yeah - pretty special. Hopefully, some other people will follow suit," he said.

The generator stops 100,000 cubic metres of methane or greenhouse gas form being pumped into the atmosphere, which accounts for 15 per cent of the thermal pools's electricity use.

Worth around $35,000, the electricity is the equivalent of how much 43 average Kiwi homes would use.

"[It's] really cool that we're a tiny authority. We're a tiny operation on a world scale but to be leading this technology is really special."

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), which helped the pools secure the world's smallest petroleum mining permit for the project, believes the innovation could be applied elsewhere.

The ECCA's Eddie Christian said it could be used "in the agriculture sector, for example, on large scale dairy or other large methane users".

Mr Wilson said they’re happy to share their discovery, saying, "Anyone’s more than welcome to come and have a look at what we've done here".

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools have achieved a New Zealand first converting waste product into power. Source: 1 NEWS

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