Monday, February 25, 2013

Enhancing Geothermal Systems (EGS)

Geothermal power generation (Geo) is the most cost-effective, least polluting, least resource-intensive AND most endurable alternative to nuclear, coal, gas, petroleum, wind and solar for base/regional power generation. Hydro is the only close competitor to Geothermal -- except for the negative environmental impacts of artificial reservoirs and its dependence on a continuous water resource.*

That probably sounds like a baseless proposition if one were to base judgment on the truly baseless and dismissive assertions, "... the hot temperatures required for power generation are found primarily in the West", "It's too deep" or "It causes earthquakes". The President, the Administration, Congress and most of the rest of us ignore or are innocently ignorant of the enormous potential of Geothermal power generation (25% of Northern California's power comes from Geo; Nevada is the fastest growing developer!) and the enormous long-term environmental and economic burden of the "commodities industrial complex" that supports the coal, oil, gas and nuclear commodities businesses.

Production of Geo is not based on direct or services-oriented income and profits from mining, drilling, refining, storage, transportation, re-storage, processing, burning, and trading commodities simply to boil water. The cost of the electricity produced through Geo is not based on commodities markets.

Misleading and sometimes absurd coal, gas and oil commercials don't help: "America's Fuel: Clean Coal" or "Clean Gas" or "fulfilling the promise of energy independence" or "energy for the next 80 years". Unfortunately there are no commercials for "Unlimited power less than ten miles from everywhere on Earth" or "No GHGs, particulate free!" or "Energy for the next billion years".

Once a Geo plant is established, everything except the wires are on-site. All generating equipment and processes are conventional and virtually identical with any other plant that boils water and turns a turbine, except that the "fuel" is directly underfoot. Ownership can be private or public, self-supported authorities -- like water and sewage plants, toll roads, bridges or the Hoover Dam.

Energy Independence? Geo has the proven capacity to supply all future base-load electricity for the US -- no kidding. Every airport and every domestic military base could produce its own power and power its neighbors. Plants situated on public lands (even Interstate rights-of-way) could provide most of our needs.

There is no one alternative for our energy needs, but for regional/base electrical power, Geo provides electricity the least expensively with the least pollution and environmental impact. Learning how to best exploit deep geothermal resources through Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) is a top priority if we want to eliminate emissions from hydrocarbons and tap unlimited power for future generations.

For more, see (for references), (policy).

* (seminal research)

Friday, February 1, 2013

EGS, Electricity and Energy Policy

Electricity is arguably the most direct, simple, clean and sustainable source of power for practically all human-driven applications beyond the campfire.

Rooftop solar, solar thermal and geothermal with a policy that requires self sufficiency for all new residential construction would be a huge contribution toward reduction of atmospheric carbon.

At the same time, geothermal heat is arguably the most direct, simple, economic and sustainable means of generating electricity for base-load and grid-connected use. MIT's 2006 study makes a definitive case. Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) utilize advanced engineering refinements to reach and use the Earth's heat, directly from beneath each site, practically anywhere on earth. EGS plants produce no green house gas (GHG) emissions and are thus ideal candidates for replacing fossil fuel and nuclear plants and the Commodities Industrial Complex directly.

I am promoting a project to research, develop and model EGS for use in New York. This project would demonstrate how to exploit EGS to replace all fossil fuel, wind and solar for base-load electrical generation in our region and virtually anywhere within 30 or 40 years. Location of a research site and funding are priorities.

I have received encouraging response from local environmentalists, NYS legislators, Congressmembers, NYSERDA and DOE. See for further explication and references. See The New, New Deal for further explication and references.