The Geothermal Energy Revolution

Posted: December 15, 2020 by oldbrew in Energy, geothermal, opinion

Geothermal energy may sound tempting, but care is needed as South Korea found out.

PA Pundits - International

By David Wojick, Ph.D. ~

There is a revolution coming in geothermal energy. How big it will be and how fast it can grow remains to be seen, but the revolutionary technology is here now.

We already know about the new technology by name — fracking. But that is fracking for oil and gas, the energy revolution we are already living on, that the greens hate. The geothermal revolution is fracking for heat.

Here is the technical bit. The Earth’s crust we live on is just a thin film wrapped around an 8,000 mile diameter molten ball. In some places under the deep ocean this crust is estimated to be just 3 miles or so thick. It is somewhat thicker under the continents but the point remains; it gets hot fast as you drill down into the crust. That heat is geothermal energy.

We have used geothermal energy to make…

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  1. Johna says:

    Would you believe it – limitless pollution free energy at last? Trouble is natures steam (intrinsic energy) is only cost effective if its gushing out from a sustainable 247365 source. Even then its got to be cleaned and have enough pressure and volume flow to turn a decent size 750 MW steam turboalternator. Not to be scoffed at though, as Britain already has good sources of ground heat systems supplying hot water for thousands of homes offices schools factories. Downhole FW pumping can also reach this limitless heat source effectively and efficiently i.e. less pumping and cleaning losses – two stage HE with treated FW. Tagged on coal or gas secondary heat with CHP/DH is also an absolute must! So BOJO, if you wont listen to the thousands of expert engineers physicists and scientists telling you that CO2 caused climate change is TOTAL baloney, why don’t you listen to the voice of God and make Britain Great again by having cost effective energy for all? While your at it educate our children again on how to turn, mill, weld (currently being taught how to make dolls houses out of cardboard) and make products the World wants at a competitive price they can afford, i.e. cars busses trains planes etc etc? Or will you be the PM who will further marginalise Britain and ensure it is written off as a “has-been” from its days of empire; A great time indeed when we did rule the high seas and led by example in all things that made the Modern World and fostered civilisation and Christianity to boot.

  2. A C Osborn says:

    It works in areas with high volcanic activity like Iceland, but I don’t think it does so well when it isn’t present.
    According to this source there weree about 13.3Gw worldwide in 2018. It si not exactly flying off the shelves.

  3. Graeme No.3 says:

    It was tried in Australia where water was injected into ‘hot rocks’ i.e. granite containing uranium. It was the radioactivity that generated the heat. Taxpayer funded of course.
    A total failure.** The water wasn’t hot enough (approx. 280℃) and contained a lot of “sludge” (dissolved minerals). The project was abandoned and no-one is interested.

    NZ is more geologically active and has used geothermal for years, but ‘sludge’ buildup and local heat loss in the rocks limits operations. The solution was to drill a new shaft. A side effect was the reduction in geyser activity in Rotorua the well known tourist destination, so output of the nearest geothermal station has been reduced.

    ** Not quite a complete failure in that 2 local Greenies were directors at £225,000 p.a. before the company was went bankrupt. They are probably wishing it wasn’t renewable.

  4. ivan says:

    If you take the heat out of the deep rocks won’t that cool the planet? Beside which not all areas of the world are suitable unless, as others have said, the drilling is done in areas of volcanic activity or you need exceptionally deep holes and very large pumps. The other thing would be removing the sediment buildup which would clog up the fracted area so requiring continual drilling.

    Not as good as it sounds unless you are very careful to pick where you use it which may not be in the best place to sell the produced energy.

  5. oldbrew says:

    More bad press for biomass today…

    Shedding light on the dark side of biomass burning pollution

    ‘The study is broadly important for a number of reasons. First, it shows beyond doubt that sunlight is not required for rapidly generating significant amounts of oxidized aerosol, a finding that reshapes the understanding of how pollution from biomass burning is formed. Second, this mechanism can explain the paradoxically high levels of organic pollution in urban environments during wintertime haze episodes, such as in Europe and China. Finally, the work greatly elevates the role of biomass burning as a source of air pollution at night, in winter, and during other periods of low solar activity, when intense haze episodes often occur around the world.’
    – – –
    Carbon dioxide: zero pollution. Biomass: much pollution.

  6. A C Osborn says:

    Oldbrew, they learnt little from all the Clean Air Act work done in the UK, just like they have allowed log burners to make a come back in clean air zones.
    They obviously need better or more scrubbers on their Biomass burners.

  7. Jim says:

    Geothermal closed loop systems have been around from the 60’s. It is the rich go to for generations. Expensive to put in, but cheap to run.

  8. Johna says:

    Also factor in wood burning boilers and fuel system needs to be about 4 times the size of a coal burner to get the steam rates needed. We were full flight in new commercial biomass power generation when I was with Alstom Power R&D. But the UK Government pulled the plug on coal and with it all steam engineering R&D stopped too. What gets me is the ignorance our politicians have and a gullible public who wont change this!? Battersea was a classic case of a juxtaposed crisis giving the UK a massive lead with CHP – all to be demolished because of the innate hatred Tory politicians still have of coal miners. Yes scrubbers FGD Electrostatic and Wet precipitators Cyclones etc make a modern smoke stack emissions pollutant free i.e. CO2 is not a pollutant – the trees love it.

  9. Curious George says:

    Cheap to run? No corrosion of pipes/equipment?

  10. Jim says:

    Closed loop doesn’t pollute. All superheated ” waters” are ” distilled” and clean. Just routine oiling and external cleaning. The costs are initial, the hole, piping, and heated element, a condensing mechanism, a “pump” to turn a generator, and an output. It’s kind of like windmills, low upkeep, but after established, runs 24×7, if a farmer, could afford it, it’s what should be done. Rather then wind, and coal.

  11. Johna says:

    Jim says:
    December 16, 2020 at 8:00 pm closed loop doesn’t pollute. All superheated ”..

    Geosteam is usually wet and full of gaseous pollutants and mineral particles which causes rapid turbine blade wear, so it is usually dried and filtered. And geohotwater is more than ok for industrial and commercial heating use.

    Superheating conditioned geohot water to steam from marginal closed loop ground heat sources can be used for full blown power generation – so coal, gas, oil, or biomass are the only options to do this.

    That changes if we have solarthermal steam, but with no Sun (like no wind?) the generated output is not 247365 – more like 83150? The benefit of superheated geosteam is far less fuel is needed – commensurate with the thermal efficiency increases.

    So bring these super efficient low pollutant carbon boosted geoheat power stations into town, as with CHP (district heating) the efficiency can be as high as 150%.

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