Deep in the Amazon basin in eastern Peru, there’s a waterway that can scald animals and humans to death. The so-called Boiling River can even fry frogs. And this month, energy-management master’s degree students from New York Institute of Technology’s Vancouver campus will fly down there to investigate the river’s potential to generate geothermal electricity.
Remi Charron, an NYIT associate professor of energy management, told the Straight by phone that while the students are in Peru, they’ll speak to the local indigenous population to explore whether or not a geothermal project could be developed while taking into consideration the site’s cultural significance.
The second part of the project involves comparing the potential of the Boiling River to that of Meager Creek Hot Springs, which is 95 kilometres northwest of Whistler. Charron said the students will also speak to First Nations people in Mount Currie to determine if there is any cultural significance to the hot springs in their area.
“It’s an important consideration for any energy project to go forward: to get the buy-in from the local First Nations.”
Meager Creek gets its heat from a volcanic source, but this doesn’t appear to be the case with the Boiling River. Charron said scientists believe that its heat comes from water that flows deep into the earth and reemerges scalding.