Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
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.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Geothermal Power Advances

Comments Filter:
  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @12:22AM (#42572247)
    No Sir, anything but. Not fracking at all. Fracking is only done by the evil gas companies...
    • by chill (34294) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @12:34AM (#42572305) Journal

      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.

      • by houstonbofh (602064) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @12:50AM (#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 @01:08AM (#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 @01:42AM (#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.

          • by Flentil (765056)
            Plastic bottles contain the chemical BPA that we were recently warned about. Here's an article that claims the previous claims are false. Make of it what you will. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130102140526.htm [sciencedaily.com]
          • by Instine (963303)
            At what pressure do you think those safety tests are carried out?
          • by drinkypoo (153816)

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

            The plastics industry called, and they said they would be highly interested in this "inert plastic". Apparently, they have never heard of it, but they'd sure like some to correct the fact that all plastic bottles leach chemicals into their contents. There is no such thing as inert plastic.

        • by Khashishi (775369)

          at least that's a known chemical

      • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @01:23AM (#42572521)

        The idea that the chemicals are unknown is horse poop.

        Here's a list: http://fracfocus.org/chemical-use/what-chemicals-are-used [fracfocus.org]

        The companies involved just don't tell Greenpeace etc. what the chemicals are, and apparently Greenpeace etc. would prefer to make a big political stink out of it rather than fund a GC-MS lab to run the analysis and find out that it's actually stuff like polysaccharides sand and which will destroy their talking points, which of course opens the question why are they making such a stupid lot of fuss about the whole thing?

        But you can bet they know.

        The regulatory agencies for sure know what the chemicals are - sometimes they aren't allowed to tell others because the states protect the trade secrets involved. But not always.

        A lot of the stuff is disclosed on sites like this: http://fracfocus.org/ [fracfocus.org] - several states now require drillers upload the chemical compositions to this site as part of their permitting process. Texas for example.

        http://03646f4.netsolhost.com/?p=218 [netsolhost.com]

        Also of course if you patent something you have to disclose or the patent isn't valid. So that's always an interesting source of info as well.

        These fluids are pretty boring actually. Viscosifier, proppant, and corrosion inhibitor. In fact if you do a Google search you'll come up with articles on which ones to use.

        Last time I posted this info on slashdot I was modded down to Troll in less than 30 seconds. I wonder how long it will take today?

        • by _Ludwig (86077) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @02:50AM (#42572765) Journal

          Boring?! Long chemical names don’t inherently scare me (Calcium carbonate, sodium chloride, oh my!) but a lot of the shit on that list is pretty heinous. It’s telling that even a greenwashing industry shill site like Fracfocus can’t make their practices sound responsible.

        • by GrumpySteen (1250194) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @01:30PM (#42575401)

          You might have been modded as a troll last time due to your completely ignoring all of the health effects that the chemicals on that list have just as the website you linked to does.

          From the page you linked, "Although there are dozens to hundreds of chemicals which could be used as additives, there are a limited number which are routinely used in hydraulic fracturing." It's not a comprehensive list of what goes into frakking fluid. It's a list of the most common chemicals and it admits that there are many others which are not listed.

          Elsewhere on the site, you'll find that it admits that "EPA has not included oil and gas extraction as an industry that must report under TRI." Some states have put rules in place to require disclosure of the chemicals used, but most have not and the government doesn't require it, so no... the regulatory agencies generally do not know what is being released into the environment.

          And that page doesn't actually list any of the harmful effects those chemicals can have, does it. In fact, the only problem it mentions is possible confusion due to chemicals being referred to with multiple names.

          Let's do a few minutes of research, shall we?

          Glutaraldehyde - Eye, skin and lung irritant. Long term exposure can cause sensitivity and more severe reactions. Implicated as a possible cause of occupational asthma

          Quaternary Ammonium Chloride - Eye, skin and lung irritant. Ingestion can be fatal.

          Tetrakis Hydroxymethyl-Phosphonium Sulfate - Mild skin and respiratory irritation. Long term exposure can cause sensitivity and more severe reactions.

          Ammonium Persulfate - Irritant. Ingestion can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

          Magnesium Peroxide - Eye, skin and lung irritant. Ingestion can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Long term exposure may lead to lung damage.

          Tetramethyl ammonium chloride - Produces chemical burns to the eye. Skin and lung irritant. Extremely toxic to aquatic life. Long term exposure can cause permanent lung damage.

          Isopropyl Alcohol - CNS depressant. Can cause nausea, vomiting, anesthesia, coma and death.

          Methanol - Highly toxic to humans, CNS depressant. Causes metabolic acidosis. Can cause blindness, death. Metabolized into formic acid (see below) and formaldehyde which can be lethal, is a known carcinogen, eye irritant, asthma trigger, permanent lung damage, reproductive problems, miscarriages, allergic reactions... there's lots more but let's just say this one is arguably the nastiest one on the list and leave it at that.

          Formic acid - Much of the same as methanol since methanol is metabolized into formic acid. No need to repeat the entire paragraph.

          Acetaldehyde - Eye, skin and lung irritant. Probable carcinogen. Prolong exposure can cause permanent damage to lungs, kidney, liver. Can trigger Alzheimer's disease in people with a genetic deficiency in ALDH2 gene.

          And that's just the first quarter or so of the list.

          Much of that list is quite toxic to humans and other animals. Much of it can cause permanent damage to the liver, kidneys and/or lungs with long term exposure, some even at very low doses (the sort of exposure you'd get if you, oh I don't know, contaminated the groundwater).

          Your definition of "pretty boring" is ... interesting, to say the least.

          • It's pretty boring when it gets down to 1-2 parts per trillion^10 or even more dilute.

            Hell I would worry more about the natural sulfides and arsenides leeched into groundwater from old Plutons than this shit. It's not like they are pumping millions of gallons of the pure chemicals even, they are treatments at low quantities in the water being pumped into the wells.

            Your definition of "OMFG the sky is falling, the fracking chems are gonna make my face melt" are ..... funny, to say the least.

            • It's pretty boring when it gets down to 1-2 parts per trillion^10 or even more dilute.

              If every one of those chemicals is so dilute that it only makes up 1-2 parts per trillion, they would not have the effects that are listed beside them.

              Even someone with virtually no knowledge of chemistry whatsoever probably has a clue how much propylene glycol it takes to have an anti-freeze effect since they put it in their car. 1-2 parts per trillion? You either don't know what you're talking about or you're intentionally lying.

              I also didn't say anything about the sky falling or what the actual effects

              • by chmod a+x mojo (965286) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @08:58PM (#42578099)

                No, I'm not lying. They are not pumping a million+ gallons of any of the pure chemical listed. They are dilute in a water solution since water is "cheap". Even if some of those chemical manage to migrate to an aquifer the molecule count would most likely be in the parts per trillion, and that is assuming that chemical leeching and natural filtration didn't turn them into something harmless by the time they managed to get to the aquifer.

                As I said, you are more likely to find sulfides and arsenides that occur naturally.

                If every one of those chemicals is so dilute that it only makes up 1-2 parts per trillion, they would not have the effects that are listed beside them.

                That was the whole point... the chemicals MAY cause those effects in pure form, but the forms that you would see _if_ they migrated are going to be extremely diluted.

                Even someone with virtually no knowledge of chemistry whatsoever probably has a clue how much propylene glycol it takes to have an anti-freeze effect since they put it in their car.

                Most people are lucky to understand the difference in Octane rating of the fuel they put in their cars much less what Antifreeze is made from. The dealership takes care of all that messy stuff when they get their oil changed.

                I also didn't say anything about the sky falling or what the actual effects of fracking fluid might be. I simply showed that your claims that all those chemicals are harmless was a lie. Your response to my post demonstrates why you get modded as a troll.

                One, I never claimed anything upthread. You replied to my first post on the page. Two, can't be a lie... see point # one. And three, you might want to look again. There are plenty of mods that can understand satire and hyperbole, hence my comment standing at (score:3) as of this writing.

                Well there is four, your writing of "all those dangerous chemicals" makes you come off sounding scared and screaming the sky is falling. As I pointed out, there are quite a few worse things in our groundwater that naturally occur. That doesn't mean we should dump anything and everything in our aquifers; but using something that is harmful in highly pure concentrations doesn't automatically equal poisoning our drinking water supplies, especially since this is only a possibility situation.

            • Any expert on homeopathy will tell you that when it reaches 1-2 parts per trillion, it becomes extremely potent.

        • by DeadCatX2 (950953)

          So all of the chemicals are known, then? There aren't any "trade secrets" or "proprietary chemicals" which allow companies to avoid disclosing at least one chemical present in the mixture? So I guess section 322 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (the so-called "Halliburton Loophole") is just an imaginary or unnecessary piece of legislation that does not bear the signature of a President?

          I guess it depends on how you define "known". I mean, in PA, there's a law that says a doctor can file a request with a

      • With all due respect you are wrong. The argument against fracking has nothing to do with the potential contamination of ground water - it is simply the latest crusade of the environmental terror industry in their endless campaign to raise money. Normally you have a problem and then people come together to work towards a solution to deal with the problem, such as the Tea Party organically coming into existence as a result of the over-reach of government. There is no epidemic of ground water contamination due
        • by chill (34294)

          I'm not sure I'm wrong. I didn't claim it was factual, just that what the common, uneducated people complain about regarding fracking was fluid contamination.

          I understand your point.

        • The argument against fracking has nothing to do with the potential contamination of ground water
          This is just nonsense.
          Why don't you google how many fracking sides already got closed because they contaminated the ground water?
          There is no epidemic of ground water contamination due to 'fracking'
          OFC there is. Why are you not able to follow the daily news? Have no TV? Oh, but you have internet!
          Mark my words, if geothermal begins to look like a fat money basket by these same groups that target 'fracking' for fu

          • by sFurbo (1361249)

            Why don't you google how many fracking sides already got closed because they contaminated the ground water?

            Because they contaminated ground water, or because the allegedly contaminated ground water? AFAIK, there have only been one case where it has been shown that the contamination was from fracking. Please do inform me if I have missed any.

            There is no epidemic of ground water contamination due to 'fracking' OFC there is. Why are you not able to follow the daily news? Have no TV? Oh, but you have internet!

            And we all know how correct information about scientific subjects are on TV and especially the internet.

        • by cusco (717999)
          such as the Tea Party organically coming into existence

          WTF??? The Koch brothers dumping several million dollars into the coffers of half a dozen PR groups to pay for organizing and recruiting is how groups "organically come into existence" now? We used to call fake 'grass roots' groups like that 'Astroturf', but I guess now they're considered mainstream. Actual grass roots groups today get disrupted by the FBI, declared a 'terrorist organization' by Fatherland Security and are massacred in the press,
      • by mpe (36238)
        The biggest objection to fracking is the unknown chemicals pumped into the ground, potentially contaminating the groundwater.

        I'm sure they are not "unknown" to the people pumping them in.

        These people pumped water down, not chemicals. There is no danger of contamination.

        Water is a "chemical" it's also a very effective solvent which can disolve all sorts of things from the rocks it is passing through. Even utterly pure water containing only stable isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen.
        A contamination risk com
      • by khallow (566160)

        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.

        And you happen to "know" what chemicals are already in the ground? One of the problems with geothermal already is the chemicals that dissolve in water.

      • The problem with geothermal "fracking" like this is ofc not pollution, but: earthquakes.
        About 5 to 10 years ago they build a big power plant with this technology in Switzerland. The result was an earthquake costing a billion in damages.

      • by RockDoctor (15477)

        These people pumped water down, not chemicals.

        Water isn't a chemical?

        (Hiya, Chill, not seen you for a while.)

        The chemicals pumped into the ground in fracking are well known. Because they are charged for - charged quite a lot of money for. The mud engineer who mixes up the fluids on site has to submit a daily chemical inventory to the client company for cost-control reasons, which are WAY more important (to the company) than any environmental regulations, which will have been assessed months before when p

        • by chill (34294)

          Greetings, Rockdoc. Yeah, it has been a while.

          I was using "chemicals" in the vernacular. :-)

          The issue that seems to plague fracking in the U.S. is that while the composition of the mud and support chemicals used is known, it frequently isn't shared.

          It leads to issues like this: http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/08/27/gvl10827.htm [ama-assn.org]

          The general public thinks emotionally, not logically. Trying to tell them that things like gas pocket migration, hissing wells and the like occur naturally a certain percentage

          • by RockDoctor (15477)
            Re: article you cite [ama-assn.org]

            the bleeding, oozing legions covering their faces.

            Someone take that reporter out and provide clue-by-four education. It's "lesions". [grumble, "spik inglish, boah!"]

            Phenol to cause lesions such as are described? Well, if you spray your face with 10% phenol-in-water you'll get lesions like that (this used to be a standard technique in early "aseptic" operating theatre practice - see Lister's work in the 1850s ; and this is why better techniques were developed.) Hippuric acid ... rings a

    • by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Sunday January 13, 2013 @12:35AM (#42572311)

      No Sir, anything but. Not fracking at all. Fracking is only done by the evil gas companies...

      Fracking is considered "evil" for two reasons:
        1) The chemical brew mixed with the water.
        2) Gas leaking into groundwater.

      Neither of these apply to geothermal fracturing. Most of the chemical additives are to help free the gas from the rock. There is no reason to add them to water used for geothermal fracturing. There is no gas leaking into groundwater either, because there is no gas.

      Geothermal fracturing can also cause minor earthquakes, but I think that concern is overblown. I live on a faultline in California, and we get tremors every few months. They are not dangerous to someone in a normal wood frame house, and you just learn to live with them.
       

      • by Anonymous Coward

        What about the earthquakes? Cracking the earth isn't a good idea.

        • by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Sunday January 13, 2013 @12:50AM (#42572363)

          What about the earthquakes? Cracking the earth isn't a good idea.

          Spewing billions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere isn't a good idea either. Geothermal energy has an enourmous potential to reduce those emissions. If the price is a some minor tremors in remote locations, it is worth it.

          • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday January 13, 2013 @01:07AM (#42572433) Homepage Journal

            Geothermal energy has an enourmous potential to reduce those emissions. If the price is a some minor tremors in remote locations, it is worth it.

            Well, time to sacrifice some karma on the truth once again. The poster child for geothermal power in the USA is Calpine at The Geysers, near Calistoga CA. Near, in fact, old faithful, which is old but not particularly faithful. It is neither as regular nor as potent as it used to be.

            Neither are the vents at The Geysers, which is why they started injecting primary-treated sewage water (reports on how well-treated it is vary) into the ground in order to rebuild steam. This did have the desired effect, but it also had others, primarily increased seismicity. Indeed, many dollars have been paid out to people whose homes have been damaged by it. They are, you see, more than minor tremors on occasion. This is of course a minor location, so that part of the recipe is true enough anyhow.

            On top of that, however, there's the fact that the plant has been perpetually under production and over budget since its creation, in spite of the shit-pumping. So basically, you want to spend a lot of money to build mediocre power plants that have greater ecological impact than you think and which will never produce the amount of power they promise. None of this is a law of thermodynamics or anything, but look at the country we're talking about. This ain't Germany, we're talking about the USA. We could do it right, we have all the skills and all the materials, but we won't, because that's not how we do things. We do things in the way that produces that maximum amount of pork. That's why PG&E is blowing up gas lines in residential areas in California, it's not because they couldn't afford to fix them or didn't know they needed to be fixed but because someone could get a third yacht if they didn't fix them.

            • by Seraphim1982 (813899) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @02:27AM (#42572703)

              Well, time to sacrifice some karma on the truth once again. The poster child for geothermal power in the USA is Calpine at The Geysers, near Calistoga CA. Near, in fact, old faithful, which is old but not particularly faithful. It is neither as regular nor as potent as it used to be.

              Old Faithful is in Wyoming, which is two states (Utah and Nevada) away from California.

            • by _Ludwig (86077)

              I’d mod you up Informative except I’ve already commented. I get text alerts from the USGS for earthquake activity above a certain threshold in the area, and at least half of them are from the vicinity of The Geysers.

            • by riverat1 (1048260) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @03:45AM (#42572913)

              The Geysers is an entirely different kind of geothermal development. It uses water already in the ground. This new development on Mount Newberry is into dry basalt and all the water they use will be from surface sources and it will be run in a closed loop cycle so none is released.

              • by drinkypoo (153816)

                it will be run in a closed loop cycle so none is released.

                Yeah, closed until it isn't. Closed as far as they know. Closed until the ground-up plastic degrades and stops preventing seepage, assuming it ever does.

          • by Ichijo (607641)

            Geothermal energy has an enourmous potential to reduce those emissions. If the price is a some minor tremors in remote locations, it is worth it.

            If it were only that simple. Besides creating tremors, harvesting geothermal energy also hastens the cooling of the Earth's mantle. Once that's done, say goodbye to the magnetosphere, and shortly thereafter, the entire atmosphere and all life on Earth.

            • by jamesh (87723)

              Geothermal energy has an enourmous potential to reduce those emissions. If the price is a some minor tremors in remote locations, it is worth it.

              If it were only that simple. Besides creating tremors, harvesting geothermal energy also hastens the cooling of the Earth's mantle. Once that's done, say goodbye to the magnetosphere, and shortly thereafter, the entire atmosphere and all life on Earth.

              I thought of that too. Does anyone have any numbers on how many million years we can suck heat out of the ground before it becomes a problem?

              • by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Sunday January 13, 2013 @10:42AM (#42574213)

                Does anyone have any numbers on how many million years we can suck heat out of the ground before it becomes a problem?

                Sure. First of all, you need to realize that the major loss of heat from the mantle is via normal convection through the surface of the earth. But since AGW is heating up the atmosphere, that convection will be reduced, and the mantle will eventually heat up by the same amount as the atmosphere (although it will take a few millions of years to reach equilibrium). So lets say that AGW will heat up the atmosphere by 2C. So to have NO effect on the temperature of the earth, we could suck out the energy that would otherwise cause the Earth to warm up by 2C as well.

                The weight of the Earth is about 6e24 kg. It has a heat capacity of about 0.4 kJ/kg. So cooling it by 2C would be about 4.8e24kJ. In 2008, world wide energy use, from all sources, was about 500 exajoules, or 5e17kJ. So we could use geothermal energy for 100% of all of humanity's current energy consumption, for ten million years , just to offset global warming, and having no net effect.

                So worries about "cooling off the Earth" are a tad ridiculous.

                • by njvack (646524)

                  So worries about "cooling off the Earth" are a tad ridiculous.

                  The big problem isn't cooling off the whole earth (which does have a truly staggering amount of heat stored in its crust and mantle). The problem is cooling off the area in the immediate vicinity of your borehole so that it's no longer hot enough to do useful work for you; since rock doesn't have particularly good thermal conductivity, this sadly happens a lot faster than you'd like. The power plant at The Geysers produces about half the electrical power that it did when it opened, as it depleted the geothe

                • by cusco (717999)
                  This is why I come to Slashdot, someone asks a question and someone else will actually go to the trouble of giving a real answer. Even a question as absurd as this one.
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by njvack (646524)

                I thought of that too. Does anyone have any numbers on how many million years we can suck heat out of the ground before it becomes a problem?

                Actually, a physics prof at UCSD did a pretty thorough analysis of geothermal energy [ucsd.edu]. The verdict: there are places in the country where it's great, but in the majority of the USA, it just isn't a particularly dense resource, so the energy return on investment (you need to dig a whole lot of really deep holes and stick a whole lot of pipe in the ground) is pretty meh.

                It probably will (and should) be developed more, but will remain a niche source of energy county and world-wide.

            • by riverat1 (1048260)

              The amount of energy we can suck of out the well is so miniscule compared to the amount of heat in the mantle I'd be surprised if it had any effect. At best we might be able to delay a volcanic eruption. The wells don't go anywhere near the mantle, just a bit closer to the magma chamber under Mount Newberry.

            • The earth is to big to lose its atmosphere if the magnetic field is gone.
              With a magnetic field as strong as earth's the frozen field when earth cools out will be quite strong anyway.
              On top of that: cooling of the earth will take about 6 bilion years. A few geothermal plants wont change that significantly (thousand years perhaps? Or only 1 year? After all we take energy from the mantle/crust, not from the core!!!!).
              I believe the sun goes into a red giant in 4 billion years: hint, we have a bigger problem in

          • Geothermal energy as we use it today is only useful for heating.
            To run a power plant that produces electric energy you need to drill much deeper and to tap much higher temperatures.
            For heating however you need the plants close to towns, and earthquake risk prevents that.
            OTOH houses can easily be insulated and built to need no extra heating, read about: zero energy houses.

      • by Trepidity (597)

        And for #1, it doesn't help that the mixture of chemicals is kept secret, and its safety hasn't been rigorously studied. I would be willing to consider fracking in principle, if there were some actual vetting of what is being pumped down there and what its effects are.

    • by verifine (685231)

      Ah, fracking by any other name.

      Methinks there is more than a bit of hypocrisy floating around in the story. It's no good unless you do it for "eco" reasons?

      Had an interesting conversation with a (Conservative) friend who's bought into several wells. He says when you drill a well using old technology you get about 30% of the oil in the field. It dries up, and we used to abandon those mines. Now you can drill down and from a 7" casing you can drill horizontally and fracture the strata using up to 100,000

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        Fracking is an issue for a number of reasons. The mud pumped in can be toxic, and though below the water table, must pass through the water table. Plus, getting more oil out is bad. If we want to lower CO2 production, we need to stop using fossil fuels. Anything that leaves more carbon in the ground is a good thing.

        Plus, when you ask a well owner, I'm sure he believed he's not evil. The evil ones always always justify it. "it's for the greater good" and all that.
  • J.C. Denton is going to be real mad.

  • So what exactly happens to this? Makes its way up to the surface eventually and generally fucks shit up I assume.
    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Water with a hint of warm bisphenol A?
    • by jamesh (87723)

      So what exactly happens to this? Makes its way up to the surface eventually and generally fucks shit up I assume.

      it doesn't even have to make it's way to the surface. Soon we'll be seeing pictures of little baby Morlock's, C.H.U.D.'s and Molemen, with plastic around their necks, dying in agony. They say the plastic is 'ground up' but I assume that means it's ground up small enough to fit in the bucket of a digger.

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @01:09AM (#42572445)
    Everyone seems to be calling it fracking without reading the article. Technically it's fracking but they aren't using millions of gallons of highly toxic chemicals and they aren't fracturing rock to release gas and oil which migrates up into ground water. My guess is they are drilling a lot deeper as well. I wish they gave a depth, the article is thin on details. At around 10,000 feet the ground temperature is well over 100 degrees so I'm guessing at least twice that far. Okay I'll paste an excerpt from Wikepedia on Kola borehole below. They hit 356F before the heat made them stop. I'm curious how they got the plastic out? They glaze over details like that. The great thing with geothermal is potentially if you can drill deep enough you can do it anywhere.

    Wikipedia excerpt

    "The main target depth was set at 15,000 m (49,000 ft). On 6 June 1979, the world depth record held by the Bertha Rogers hole in Washita County, Oklahoma, at 9,583 m (31,440 ft)[3] was broken. In 1983, the drill passed 12,000 m (39,000 ft), and drilling was stopped for about a year to celebrate the event.[4] This idle period may have contributed to a break-down on 27 September 1984: after drilling to 12,066 m (39,587 ft), a 5,000 m (16,000 ft) section of the drill string twisted off and was left in the hole. Drilling was later restarted from 7,000 m (23,000 ft).[4] The hole reached 12,262 m (40,230 ft) in 1989. In that year the hole depth was expected to reach 13,500 m (44,300 ft) by the end of 1990 and 15,000 m (49,000 ft) by 1993.[5][6] However, due to higher than expected temperatures at this depth and location, 180 C (356 F) instead of expected 100 C (212 F), drilling deeper was deemed unfeasible and the drilling was stopped in 1992.[4] With the expected further increase in temperature with increasing depth, drilling to 15,000 m (49,000 ft) would have meant working at a projected 300 C (570 F), at which the drill bit would no longer work.[citation needed]"

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Newberry is a large dormant (and not very dormant at that) shield volcano in Central Oregon. It's known for it bimodal volcanism with runny basaltic andesite erupting from hundreds of small cinder cones on its sprawling flanks, and viscous silica rich rhyolite, obsidian, and ash prone to erupting from the central caldera. This bimodal (basalt and rhyolite) character is shared with older extinct volcanoes showing a clear age progression across Oregon's high lava plains to the east-southeast. Newberry is the

    • by riverat1 (1048260) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @04:09AM (#42572997)

      Where they're drilling here in on the slopes of Newberry Volcano which has erupted at least 6 times in the last 12,000 years, the last eruption being about 1,400 years ago. There's a magma chamber beneath it so they don't have to go so deep. Wikipedia says [wikipedia.org] they're drilling down 2-3 km (6,500-10,000 feet).

  • If geothermal heat was tapped for power to meet all our energy needs on the same scale as coal, gas, and oil are used now, would there be any consequences for the planet? Would that be more than just an extra drop of what already leaks into space past the insulating crust through volcanoes? Would it increase entropy? Would it ultimately cool the Earth faster? Would it slow its rotation or mess with plate tectonics?

    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      As long as it hurts the oil companies it's a good thing.

    • by riverat1 (1048260)

      At the rate humans are currently using energy it would have no effect. This development is just tapping residual heat off the magma chamber below Newberry Volcano so it would have no effect other than perhaps slowing down the timing of the next eruption a bit.

  • What could possibly go wrong?

  • ... what? So they've found something to do with recycled plastic, bury it. Yeah, progress.

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?

Working...