Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Perhaps less need for deep geothermal drilling
A more efficient method to extract power from low temperature thermal springs. I'm not sure, however, whether there are a lot of these things around. Anyway, a more exotic fluid can help the turbines. Meanwhile, the deep drillers trigger earthquakes, and may start a volcano!
The big problem with geothermal energy is the horrible heat conduction of rock. A natural hot spring, by definition. has solved the problem but taking advantage of a huge network of interconnecting channels. Deep drillers hope to create a single channel between two boreholes, which is tricky enough (nearly impossible!). Most likely, this ends up being a short single channel. They pump water through, but how much heat can they get? What if the channel clogs? I tend to think these people are like the windmill farms, putting up useless structures to suck up government money.