backtop


Print 77 comment(s) - last by iNGEN.. on Aug 27 at 6:04 PM


EGS, an incredibly promising form of geothermal, involves drilling down to "basement rock", the hot outer layer of the crust, and pumping water down into it to produce steam. Just a tiny percentage of the underground heat capacity of the U.S. could power the nation thousands of times over.  (Source: AltaRock)
New energy source could offer 2,500 times nation's power needs, according to MIT

The world of alternative energy is a confusing one filled with choices.  There's nuclear, solar, wind, and biofuels (such as algae).  Each technology has its own unique advantages and disadvantages.

One technology that's too often forgotten in the mix is geothermal energy.  With interest in alternative energy at an all-time high, the geothermal energy business is seeing a rebirth.  From harnessing volcanic steam deposits to prospecting America's many geothermal sites, many promising projects are currently underway.

Perhaps the most promising source of geothermal is a brand new method called Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS).  Where traditional geothermal involves finding naturally occurring steam pockets in the hot layers of rock beneath the Earth's crust, EGS skips the troublesome prospect and makes its own steam, by drilling down the hot rock, cracking it, and then pumping water into the cracks to form steam.  The result -- instant power virtually anywhere in the country.

According to MIT, just 2 percent of the heat between 3 and 10 kilometers beneath the crust of the Earth in the continental U.S. contains enough energy to produce 2,500 the amount of power our country produces yearly.  Literally, just EGS power from the U.S. could power the world.  And these depths are all within the reach of current drilling equipment.

Google is very impressed by the promise of EGS.  Google has decided to invest $10.25M USD to help startups develop the technology as part of its philanthropic arm Google.org's initiatives, which aim to produce alternative energy power at rates cheaper than coal.  The Google investment will not only cover the continuing development and deployment of the technology itself, but also the development EGS information tools, advanced geothermal resource mapping, and promotion of geothermal public policy on a government level.

Dan Reicher, Director of Climate and Energy Initiatives for Google.org states, "EGS could be the 'killer app' of the energy world. It has the potential to deliver vast quantities of power 24/7 and be captured nearly anywhere on the planet. And it would be a perfect complement to intermittent sources like solar and wind."

The latest Google funding for EGS goes to two companies and a university.  AltaRock Energy, Inc. is one of the recipients and will receive $6.25M USD to help it actualize its EGS vision.  The second investment of $4M USD goes to Potter Drilling, Inc., which is exploring new methods of drilling cheaper and techniques for drilling into deep, hard rock, a technology critical to EGS.  Finally Google will deliver a grant of $489,521 to Southern Methodist University Geothermal Lab to aid it in its projects of updating geothermal maps of America.

Dr. Larry Brilliant, executive director of Google.org also delivered praise for the new direction.  He states, "Innovation is the path to massive quantities of cleaner, cheaper energy. The people we're funding today have a real shot at lowering the cost of EGS, and bringing us closer to our goal of Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal."

Mr. Reicher quickly adds, "EGS is critical to the clean electricity revolution we need to solve the climate crisis, but EGS hasn't received the attention it merits. That's why we're pressing for expanded support from government and increased investment from the private sector.  EGS is critical to the clean electricity revolution we need to solve the climate crisis, but EGS hasn't received the attention it merits. That's why we're pressing for expanded support from government and increased investment from the private sector."



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Hope
By LyCannon on 8/19/2008 8:03:54 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The earths core produces a bit of heat from radioactive material in it, but it's mostly emptying itself slowly and will one day be a cold dead rock, unless the sun destroys it first.


This is entirely incorrect. Heat generated from the earth is due to the massive amount of pressure placed on it by the the rest of the earth.

This heat radiates from the inner core to the mantle. By drilling 3 miles down, you are still in the mantle and place NO HARM on the core, which starts at around 6000km.

Please do a little bit of research before you make yourself sound like an ass.


RE: Hope
By LyCannon on 8/19/2008 8:04:26 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Hope
By masher2 (blog) on 8/19/2008 8:15:13 PM , Rating: 2
> "Please do a little bit of research before you make yourself sound like an ass. "

You might want to read your own links before you embarrass yourself. Allow me to quote:

quote:
The immense amount of heat energy released from gravitational energy and from the decay of radioactive elements melted the entire planet
The OP was correct. Radioactive decay is the primary source of ongoing heat energy in the core. The heat from gravitational energy is almost entirely a static quantity, added when the planet first formed.


RE: Hope
By itzmec on 8/19/2008 9:43:34 PM , Rating: 2
actually his statement was not entirely incorrect. the earth will one day be a cold dead rock. you should take your own advice.

you said:

"Please do a little bit of research before you make yourself sound like an ass."


RE: Hope
By Solandri on 8/20/2008 3:15:49 AM , Rating: 2
The pressure does not "generate" heat in the sense that new heat is constantly being generated. It generated heat way back when the Earth was first formed, and that's it. The pressure is not generating any more heat. It's just that with something the size of the Earth, it takes a really, really, REALLY long time for that heat to radiate out into space. When they cast the 200-inch Hale telescope mirror out of solid glass, it took several years to cool. So you can imagine how long it would take something the size of the entire planet to cool.

So the primary sources of heat energy within the Earth are that latent heat of formation, radioactive materials (radioactive decay and in the past, natural nuclear fission reactors), and the tidal pull of the moon (which will also slow down the Earth's day until it matches the period of the moon's orbit). Of those sources, only the last two are still producing heat.


"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki