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Power Earth Hardware

Geothermal Power Advances 168

Posted by Soulskill
from the hot-rocks-level-up dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A group of geothermal power engineers have created three reservoirs from a single well in a place where none existed previously. This is a breakthrough for Enhanced Geothermal System technology — people who need power often can't choose a spot where there happens to be a geothermal reservoir, and EGS could allow us to create them where needed. 'Last fall, engineers pumped cold water into the ground, cracking open fissures in the deep rock, a process known as hydroshearing. They then sealed one reservoir from the other using a new technology. They injected ground-up recycled plastic bottles, which plugged up the cracks in one reservoir while millions of gallons of cold water were being pumped in to create another. Then the plastic diffused, leaving behind three reservoirs. ... The U.S. Department of Energy, which is covering half the $43.8 million cost of the Newberry project, says if the initial indications hold up, the Newberry project would mark the first time in the world that multiple geothermal reservoirs have been created on purpose from a single well in a new area.'"
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Geothermal Power Advances

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  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @11:22PM (#42572247)
    No Sir, anything but. Not fracking at all. Fracking is only done by the evil gas companies...
  • by houstonbofh (602064) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @11:50PM (#42572365)

    The biggest objection to fracking is the unknown chemicals pumped into the ground, potentially contaminating the groundwater. These people pumped water down, not chemicals. There is no danger of contamination.

    "They injected ground-up recycled plastic bottles, which plugged up the cracks in one reservoir while millions of gallons of cold water were being pumped in to create another."


    No danger, huh?

  • by chill (34294) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @12:08AM (#42572441) Journal

    Inert plastic? The same stuff they make carpet, park benches, and food containers out of?

    The same stuff they ship bottled water in?

    Reported, regulated, testable plastic. Not trademarked, trade secret potential toxins.

  • by jamesh (87723) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @12:42AM (#42572579)

    Inert plastic? The same stuff they make carpet, park benches, and food containers out of?

    The same stuff they ship bottled water in?

    Reported, regulated, testable plastic. Not trademarked, trade secret potential toxins.

    That's the stuff. It's perfectly fine unless it happens to get hot somehow.

  • Re:1 divided by 3 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @03:56AM (#42573149) Homepage

    Creating three reservoir out of one well will mean one thing - each reservoir will have less than one third the potential power of that one well.

    Damn, if only you'd been around to tell the scientists this before they wasted their time.

    I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest it's actually a lot more complicated and non-linear than that, that these guys know what they're doing, and the article just doesn't go into quite enough detail.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 13, 2013 @04:00AM (#42573155)

    There really is almost no risk this will contaminate anyone's drinking water. No one lives near the well and it's a sparsely populated area in general. The well they are drilling is over 6,000 feet deep in to dry rock. The water they inject will be used in a closed cycle so it's not released to contaminate surface waters.

    The point we're making is that everything you (and others) are saying is the exact same type of thing the oil companies said about fracking. But since the hydrocarbon waste material we're pumping down and spreading around is described as "Recycled" and "Dissipated", and because it's for a "clean" type of energy, the apologists are out in force.

    It's just amusing watching the exact same people who bitch about fracking saying "Trust us, nobody will get hurt".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 13, 2013 @09:22AM (#42574117)

    That is a dry area not near anyone's drinking water aquifer. They drilled into solid basalt and used cold water to crack it. I'm not even sure there's any avenue for the plastic to escape. The water they use will come from the Deschutes River (which is miles away from the drill site) and will be recycled in a closed cycle. Nobody

    That's what they always say. But as it turns out, they don't KNOW what the pattern of cracks looks like underground. Resonance imaging can only tell you so much. They do not and can not know that the cracks they open will not meet some other cracks that will result in a leak into an aquifer.

    As an Oregonian whose spent time in that area I'm not that concerned about it and it's worth the experiment to see how it works.

    So since you don't live there and don't care about it we should just shit it up willfully? That's a shitty argument, and frankly, it's the kind of argument that contributes to the harm to the biosphere upon which we all depend.

    If people listen to you, and stop trying to make geothermal a viable way of getting energy, then we can continue to use coal and oil. Does that sound better?

    Telling us the risk of geothermal research is not zero is not helpful. Everything has some risk, including every source of energy. Unless you hace a realistic plan to stop all energy use, stop complaining and tell us where you think we should get energy.

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