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Improving geothermal energy

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posted on Apr, 29 2015 @ 12:35 AM
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The U.S. Department of Energy announced Monday that a team from the University of Utah's Energy & Geoscience Institute is one of five research groups selected to study new techniques for developing geothermal energy in places where it's not currently feasible. EGI is part of the U's College of Engineering.


Typical Geothermal plants utilise an existing water reservoir that simply drill into with this they will attempt to create one.


"This is really game-changing technology in terms of being able to develop self-sustainable energy for the U.S.," says Moore, who also is a geologist.
The award is a Phase I grant in a three-phase DOE project known as FORGE, or Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy. If selected for Phase III, the FORGE laboratory would be built on private land and cover about 10 acres. The laboratory would consist of two wells drilled to depths of about 8,000 feet. One well would be used to inject water into the hot rocks below. The second will recover the heated water, which is recycled.
What makes geothermal systems work? Three ingredients are necessary for a geothermal system: water, heat from the rocks (at 300 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit) and underground cracks that allow water to flow through the hot rock. Moore is confident that the granite formations beneath the site near Milford are hot enough, but the rock lacks the permeability needed to form a natural reservoir for the water to flow through.
The wells drilled at the FORGE laboratory would be used to develop ways to produce the underground fractures needed to create large, sustainable geothermal reservoirs for electric production. The researchers would create the fractures using the low-pressure injection of locally available, non-drinkable water. This water will migrate along the newly created pathways and heat up as it comes in contact with the hot granite formations.





The goal is to discover better ways to create underground flow that will allow communities throughout Utah and across America to construct sustainable and clean geothermal systems and power plants. According to the DOE, capturing even 2 percent of the naturally occurring thermal energy in the U.S. would provide 2,000 times more energy than we currently use.

phys.org


More on the study

I have been a proponent for Geothermal energy for a while ever since I took a hard look at how available and abundant it is in the US. They are working n what has been one of the major drawbacks and gambles with this energy source. If this is successful it could remedy all of our energy needs which would be both reliable and renewable as well as clean. One of the costs with existing technology has been the drilling of the wells that sometimes didn't connect with the underground cracks that could carry the water and hopefully this will enable us to create those fissures opening up new areas for power production.

(On a side note there is another thread talking about synthetic fuels that are carbon neutral. To make them they need high temperature to create steam and electricity if they were to couple that technology with Geothermal plants we could have a renewable non-polluting fuel for our vehicles to replace fossil fuels at a competitive price. That thread is HERE)




posted on Apr, 29 2015 @ 11:29 AM
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It sounds good. However ever since fracking came into existence they have gone at it like flies on honey and have caused weakness in the earth, as has been shown in the mid-West and other places. To tap into such places suitable for producing electricity, "all over the US" are they not going to run higher risks yet again?



posted on Apr, 29 2015 @ 11:44 AM
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a reply to: Grimpachi

Drilling is a hit and miss affair. The theories about what is underfoot may be correct but they are just educated guesswork. At Staufen even an exploratory borehole intended as part of the investigation/remediation project encountered very different conditions from those expected. www.dw.de... Drilling requires a huge amount of energy and can have very destructive side effects. An expensive energy generating project is only going to be constructed if someone is going to make millions from the customers.

What I see here in this deep drilling project is risk-takers jeopardising the wellbeing of the planet for profit. An old acquaintance who is now earning millions laying undersea cables recently told me, "When it goes wrong they all walk away. It's left for future generations to sort out." Nice.

What none of the profiteers will say is cut down your electricity usage to a fraction of what it is. That's the closest thing to a green lifestyle. Home produced off-grid power will see you through if your expectations are realistic.

A project like this will run into problems and cause an unacceptable degree of pollution during construction. There is no replacement for Oil/Coal/Nuclear. The only practical way forward is small scale generation for frugal home use.



posted on Apr, 29 2015 @ 11:55 AM
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a reply to: aboutface

If I told you what I've experienced as a result of multiple holes drilled in one area it would take several pages and I'd go CRAZY. Sometimes I think certain aspects of renewables have been designed to unsettle the mind. Really. I'm not kidding. Motors that whine in the middle of the night. Machinery that breaks down within a fraction of it's supposed design life.

I'm talking about shallow, 80 metre, ground source heat pumps not the super deep geothermal. But it's still holes in the ground, such as has not been done before, and the result is unexpected damage to property and infrastructure. All denied and walked away from whenever possible.

To answer your question about risk. It isn't risk it's certainty. There will be consequences.



posted on Apr, 29 2015 @ 12:07 PM
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a reply to: Grimpachi

Here's a story from 2007. www.dw.de...

Deep geothermal isn't green, but it's probably better than nuclear.



posted on Apr, 29 2015 @ 12:41 PM
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a reply to: Kester

According to my landlord I use the least amount of electricity in my apartment building. I wonder therefore why TPTB would not let some of us exclusively use solar.



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 01:57 AM
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a reply to: aboutface

Solar and batteries for 12 volt lighting and communication devices sounds sensible. Batteries can be found secondhand. Cell phone towers have emergency back-up batteries that are replaced regularly. If you can get to know a tower maintenance worker you may be able to get decent batteries at a fraction of the new cost. Golf cart batteries are also often replaced when they have plenty of life left.

Solar connected to the grid is useless during a mains outage. Workers repairing the grid would be endangered by electricity fed into the system from solar panels. To safeguard the workers the system automatically cuts out when mains power is lost.

Most of the 'alternative' 'renewable' systems being advertised are entirely profit driven.

I haven't been able to find much information on successful deep geothermal projects. All that money, time, and energy would be better spent on small scale off grid systems.
edit on 30 4 2015 by Kester because: change word

edit on 30 4 2015 by Kester because: (no reason given)

edit on 30 4 2015 by Kester because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 02:01 AM
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a reply to: aboutface

I think they want us all hooked on mains electric so we can be controlled during times of political unrest by pulling the plug.



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 11:07 AM
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a reply to: Kester

Another possibility is that the money makers are the ones pulling the strings when it comes to infrastructure control. I would like to live off grid going solar, sigh.



posted on May, 8 2015 @ 02:28 PM
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a reply to: Kester



posted on May, 8 2015 @ 02:32 PM
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a reply to: Kester
More moderate depth small diameter borehole stuff is not nearly as risky, polluting, or dangerous. Precisely why they have made it illegal, very hard to source the right parts for a DIY install for, and I believe have purposefully made extremely hard to find information on. But yeah steam geothermal is kinda stupid and scary.



posted on May, 11 2015 @ 03:05 AM
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a reply to: roguetechie

I've known houses demolished, sewer pipe cracked and obvious risk or certainty of aquifer contamination as a result of the small diameter, 80 metre deep, boreholes. Professional installations in this area gave the impression of being Heath Robinson affairs, cobbled together with off the shelf components. The replacement high tech German versions also perform in a far less efficient manner than advertised.

I've heard several stories about ground source heat pump failures from the individuals involved apart from my own experience. Occasionally a comment will appear online saying, "Our system payed for itself within five years." But no info on exact type, who installed it or in which area.

One important fact about borehole GSHP is the diagrams used in the advertising always show a borehole going straight down. Most of them bend off to the side and can easily end up under someone else's property. Why not be accurate with the advertising?

Steam geothermal is similar in that the hopeful diagrams are not what actually happens. But the drillers get paid.

Coil GSHP has a reputation for gradually cooling down the area around the coils using more and more electricity to get a result and slowing down the growth of vegetation above.



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