a reply to: themightymerlin
Here again, you're confusing small units with industrial-sized units.
On a small scale, geothermal works and works well. The planet's crust acts like an insulator: atmospheric temperature above, planetary internal
temperature below. Stay shallow and the temperature is fairly stable. My single residence heating design used a six-foot depth; geothermal heat pumps
run down to around 100 feet; larger units for single industry have exceeded that. But that's simply not enough heat energy (not temperature; they are
different) to handle a commercial power plant. To do that, one has to go much deeper and that brings up the issue of wide temperature fluctuations.
The internal temperature of the planet is much hotter than 700 degrees. It melts rock. It will melt pretty much any alloy put there.
It appears to me you have not yet grasped the quantitative aspects of commercial power production. That's nothing to be ashamed of; a lot of people
haven't. I can use a few solar cells and a battery, and power a trail cam just fine. I can set up a WiFi extender in the middle of nowhere. I can even
set up some nighttime lighting. But I cannot power my house without some form of backup and I can certainly not power a city. The commercial solar
plants you hear so much about are actually natural gas plants with a solar farm on the front end. Yeah, it's a little more efficient when the sun is
shining, but the cost, which is typically masked by heavy government subsidies, is prohibitive.
It's the same with any technology. Scalability is a thing. A stream can power a generator, but it takes a river to power a city and there are a lot
less rivers than there are streams. Fossil fuels and nuclear are both scalable and controllable... we can make plants large enough to provide a few
gigawatts (a few billion watts) of continuous power, and we can control how much power they provide by controlling how much fuel they are given.
Geothermal is also scalable, but the controllability, for now at least, is an issue at the upper end of scalability.
Look, you can scoff at my degrees all you want. It changes nothing. No one without those degrees is going to build a power plant of any kind... a good
thing IMO, because anything that produces that much power is inherently dangerous if improperly designed. Without people like me, you would be sitting
in the dark playing Parcheesi, not enjoying electric lights, Internet, and controlled temperatures. It's those degrees that allow people llike me to
give you all those advantages of modern life. So you can go on and talk smack about how being an engineer means nothing, but remember that nothing
will ever get done if not for engineers.
I'll also say this: sitting in my shop and office, right now, are several projects partly completed that would greatly benefit mankind if they were
completed. Why aren't they completed? Because some days, when I hear too many comments like yours, I just don't care to mess with them. Why should I?
If I were to develop a way for the whole world to have unlimited energy without causing any changes to the ecology, someone, like you, would still
talk their smack. Most people would just take what I have given and use it to disrespect me. So why bother?
Don't worry; those days when I feel that way are in the minority... but it does mean I don't work on stuff as hard as I could. Most engineers I know
feel that way... and that is why you never hear most of them talking about their work like I do. They don't want to be around those who disrespect
them, and they aren't going to bust their butts for people who disrespect them. We tend to keep to ourselves then talking "shop." So you aren't
getting the real picture of what's really going on in research, and you never will with your attitude.
Take that advice and ignore it to your heart's desire.