General discussion


EGS - Enhanced Geothermal Systems

By somethinggood4 ·
Okay, I want to solve the North American energy crisis, and here's how I'm going to do it;<br><br>

Altarock energy in Sausalito, CA ( <a href="http://www.altarockenergy.com" target="_blank">http://www.altarockenergy.com</a&gt offers EGS systems, which basically means that they extract heat from in the ground to boil water to drive steam turbines. The "E" in EGS means that they *create* the condiditions necessary for the extraction to work. The problem I see is that digging an EGS hole is a lot like digging for oil - time comsuming, expensive, and with a pretty big footprint. So --<br><br>

Enter the Argonne Laboratory in Chicago. They have developed (or are developing) a Laser Drilling method that would allow for precision drilling wherever it needed to be done. <a href="http://www.ne.anl.gov/facilities/lal/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.ne.anl.gov/facilities/lal/index.html</a> The plus (as far as I'm concerned) is that the laser is nuclear-powered, meaning no emissions, no downtown smog if we wanted to build a plant ten miles out of town. The laser drill will also allow for precise breaking of the hard rock to allow for minimal seismic activity and maximum heat return.<br><br>

So that's my idea. Laser drilling for EGS systems to put power plants wherever they're needed. Since this is TechRepublic, I know some of you know whether this plan is technically feasible. I also know that perhaps some of you know some people in the energy industry who can help me get this started. I'm offering the entire continental US to whoever wants it: I want to get this working in Canada.<br><br>

So how about it TR? Anyone know someone who can save the world?

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Problems with thermal

by Dr Dij In reply to EGS - Enhanced Geothermal ...

Thermal is good but has its own set of problems.

First is siting:
good portions of the western half of the US have 800o heat under the crust.

The eastern half, where the population centers are, have only 400o heat under the crust.

second: geothermal causes earthquakes.
This is because you are piping water underground where there may have been none, and the water expands with great force, fracturing rocks and causing quakes. So the plants need to be sited away from towns and structures. And if quakes start happening they need to scale back energy production at that well.

If the wells were a giant piped loop this wouldn't happen but is cheaper to just inject water directly into rox and site another borehole nearby to retrieve the steam.

Also, even where the crust is warm underneath, at times the crust is very thick, so where the magma or heat is closer to the surface is better.

And these plants are NOT pollution free. The steam picks up heavy elements in the rock formations and is released into the air after turning a turbine. However the amounts are MUCH less than coal plants for example.

And the heat is a large but non-infinite supply of energy. Tapping the heat energy in excess means areas get 'tapped out' temporarily tho they will probably recover due to magma and radioactive elements in the earth replacing the heat eventually.

The only solution? no. But a good part of a clean energy fix.

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by Jaqui In reply to Problems with thermal

the steam is a waste though.
pipe it into the bore you are dumping cold water into, you reduce the need for more potable water and reduce the actual heat needed to turn it into steam again.
closd loop actually improves efficiency of the system by 60%.

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just one problem with the laser drilling

by Jaqui In reply to EGS - Enhanced Geothermal ...

the molten rock has to be removed you know.
if vaporising it, then you have volcanic ash from it, a very deadly substance.

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