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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'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 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 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."

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RE: Hope
By omnicronx on 8/20/2008 12:06:15 PM , Rating: 2
I have done my research thank you very much, and the total amount of living creatures has absolutely no bearing on my post. There are many factors that can be attributed to the increase in the amount of increase in all living creatures. I also find it interesting that you mention that life in general has increased, but you fail to mention that large mammals and bird life is decreasing.

It the rapid demise of Plankton concerning (it is not increasing!). As I have previously stated, the gathering of plankton is a yearly event that can be seen from space, we are not talking about an estimation based solely on statistics here.

Even nasa's own study's have shown that there have been a shift in cloriphil levels from the north to the south.
chlorophyll concentrations decreased in the northern high latitudes while chlorophyll in the low latitudes increased.
While at first glance one could argue that the plankton are merely 'just moving', this is not the case. Sea life including plants in southern areas have been increasing, which in tern will increase sea life levels, but plankton needs colder waters too survive, so it is not the source the increasing chlorophyll levels in the south.

What makes matters even worse is that there are two distinct kinds of plankton, zooplankton (tiny animal like) and phytoplankton (tiny plant like) both of which heavily depend on one another(zooplankton releases the fertilizer like substance that can be see as a blanket of green from space). Scientists can only estimate the total plankton population with satellite imagery, but they can not estimate the levels of two sub species. What they can do is draw conclusions by the plankton levels by looking at other creatures in the sea, that specifically depend on the plankton to survive.
Small filter feeders, like scallops, are growing at slower rates, especially in areas farther from the shorelines. Large filter feeders are in SEVERE trouble, (like the Northern Right Whale). These trend,s and others, indicate the presence of less plankton in the oceans.

This is an excellent site that outlines what plankton is, how they are measured, and the repercussions that could possibly occur. You will find that this is not a biased article, as it lists facts for both arguments.

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