Skip to comments.Energy answers sought in Earth's crust
Posted on 08/13/2007 5:57:20 PM PDT by neverdem
BASEL, Switzerland (AP)
When tremors started cracking walls and bathroom tiles in this Swiss city on the Rhine, engineers knew they had a problem.
"The glass vases on the shelf rattled, and there was a loud bang," recalled Catherine Wueest, a tea-shop owner. "I thought a truck had crashed into the building."
But the magnitude 3.4 tremor on the evening of Dec. 8 was no ordinary act of nature: It had been accidentally triggered by engineers drilling deep into the Earth's crust to tap its inner heat and thus break new ground literally in the world's search for new sources of energy.
Basel was wrecked by an earthquake in 1365, and no tremor, man-made or other, is to be taken lightly. After more, slightly smaller tremors followed, Basel authorities told Geopower Basel to put its project on hold.
But the power company hasn't given up. It's in a race with a firm in Australia to be the first to generate power commercially by boiling water on the rocks 3 miles underground.
On paper, the Basel project looks fairly straightforward: Drill down, shoot cold water into the shaft and bring it up again superheated and capable of generating enough power through a steam turbine to meet the electricity needs of 10,000 households, and heat 2,700 homes.
Scientists say this geothermal energy clean, quiet and virtually inexhaustible could fill the world's annual needs 250,000 times over with nearly zero impact on the climate or environment.
A study released this year by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said that if 40 percent of the heat under the United States could be tapped, it would meet demand 56,000 times over. It said an investment of $800 million to $1 billion could produce more than 100 gigawatts of electricity by 2050...
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...
OMG - this will cool off the earth.
Please Freep Mail me if you'd like on/off
My neighbor has done some experimenting with geothermal heating and cooling but not of this kind.
He buried PVC pipe below the frost line all over his yard and pushes air through it. The ground stays at between 53 anf 55 degrees year round so you can see the advantage. He’s looking at doing the same but pushing water through the lines at his other house.
Global mantle cooling, ahhhhh!
This sounds very risky. If the center cools then what.
Worms of the World Unite!
Yup, that will fit on a T-Shirt!
Then we just pump some of that global warming down there to warm it back up.
You're kidding, right? The amount of heat energy down there is huge, and constantly being renewed from the radioactive elements in the core
Yep we got us one massive nuclear reactor down there the size of a small planet.
So, essentially, this is evil nuclear power? ;-)
Graduates of the Minnesota school of bridge-builders and inspectors.
He just might develop a slight problem with flooding if he uses the same set-up he did for air.
I assume the author meant to say “gigawatt hours of electricity”. Anyone purporting to report on technical matters should try to get the concepts and terminology down.
Ground Source Geothermal Heat Pumps are an incredible opportunity for energy savings.
Free energy just below the Earth’s surface can be exploited cost-effectively for heating and cooling.
Imagine heating and cooling a 2,000 sq. ft. home for a few hundred dollars each season!
Capital costs are somewhat higher, but not significantly. And geothermal heat pumps can last as long as 25 years.
Also, there is no noisy exterior heat exchanger for air conditioning - it is an integral part of the heat pump.
This won’t work until they figure out how to drill two holes that meet, so they can pump water down one hole, and have steam come out the other. Failure means more underground explosions and earthquakes.
If he hasn’t already, he should contact the alternative energy institute at West Texas A&M University. They have done some research on this and had some very good information when I asked about it several years ago.
One thing they learned was that if you use straight-edged PVC (normal pipe), the air close to the edges is cooled a lot, but the air that flows through the middle doesn’t cool much. They tried pipe with a corrugated wall and it created turbulence in the air stream, cooling the entire stream.
I’m sure the same thing would happen in a water-based system.
Another thing to consider with an air-based system is that they are humidity traps. If the air is humid upon entry, the water will condense in the pipe and you eventually will have a mold problem.
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