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Geothermal Power Station in Chillan, Bio-Bio Region, Chile

Part 2 Project 2009
Pastor Bustamante-Fredes
Central University of Chile | Chile
During the last years Chile has been in a energetic crisis with a growing situation because high levels of consumption of its habitants and the lacks of enough own resources to produce electricity.

Until today, the electric energy production is related to unclean production mechanism with pollution consequences, a powerful reason why Chile should expand its energy matrix, considering the huge potential to generate electric energy trough natural reserves of non conventional and renewable energy sources. Chile has potential capacity to produce energy trough wind forces, sun, the seas and the land, due it extremely diverse geographic configuration.

"Chillan Geothermal Power Station’s project" is a centre for developing, research and production of geothermal energy, assuming the task of positioning geothermal energy as a mayor issue within the country. Chile is one of the countries settle on “The Fire Ring”, with plenty of volcanic activity which provides enormous amount of misuse geothermal energy.

The architectural proposal has three main components; a Geothermal Power Station which will delivery enough energy to cooperate with the Chilean Interconnection Energy System and, two main centres dedicates to geothermal related activities; “The Research Centre” which is in charge of investigate on uses for the geothermal energy and “The Educational and Energy Promotion Centre” which will teach these topics through educating people about it uses along with promoting its recreational and sanitary uses.

The project main purpose is to work at different scales, from energy production to landscape, beginning on The Power Station, with the extraction of the geothermal resource in the production wells, passing by different generation steps where steam is transformed on electric energy for the Chilean Electric Main System. Before to re-inject steam to earth is to be use on different ways for the two centres (heat system, steam baths, snow-melting grid).
Three independent circuits; The Research Circuit; The Educational and Energy Promotion Circuit; and the Geothermal Energy Circuit and its conjugation produced the final outcome of the Geothermal Power Station Project, linking industrial programs, offices, residence, tourism and culture in a fluid system of spatial relations and interaction of different users.

Pastor Bustamante-Fredes

Based on the outcome of his final research seminary, Pastor Bustamante asked himself to go deeper on some of the issues about energy requirements by contemporary society. For his final project, to opt for Chilean professional degree in Architecture, Pastor developed a strategy to test how to implement “non conventional renewable energies” on Chilean territory accordingly with real data provided by actual contractors of the energy matrix on the country. The result clearly indicates the needs to promote of use of geothermal energy due the country’s opportunities to exploit its volcanic activity.

The project “Geothermal Central of Chillan: Production, Research and Promotion” constitutes a valuable approach from architectural discipline to topics where architects normally have a very restricted opportunity to work. The proposal operates under rigorous disciplinary parameters, without avoiding none of the complexities on geothermal energy implementation’s, adding values on more aspects than just the production of clean energy. The project goes not for the mere production of energy but research and promotion of its many uses increasing social and cultural benefits, aiming to be a real trigger to knowledge on “non-conventional renewable energies” on the country and promoting it use from industrial to leisure and recreational applications.

The most important achievement of the project is to confront a very complex programme with multiples and different variables and technical requirements without avoiding more architectural issues as landscape, complexity, locality, inhabitants, functions, structure and more. The final result is a quite coherent architectonic form that clearly states it constrictions but uses on its own benefit to propose a new experience.


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