Welcome to the Energy Blog


  • The Energy Blog is where all topics relating to The Energy Revolution are presented. Increasingly, expensive oil, coal and global warming are causing an energy revolution by requiring fossil fuels to be supplemented by alternative energy sources and by requiring changes in lifestyle. Please contact me with your comments and questions. Further Information about me can be found HERE.

    Jim


  • SUBSCRIBE TO THE ENERGY BLOG BY EMAIL

After Gutenberg

Clean Break

The Oil Drum

Statistics

Blog powered by Typepad

« CFL's Come Out on Top | Main | Nissan and NEC to Produce Li-ion Batteries by 2009 »

April 12, 2007

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b5da69e200d8352b685e69e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Geothermal Power not Just for the Western US:

Comments

GAB

Huge potential especially if they were allowed to drill in the Yellow stone Caldera.

30,000 feet is quite a depth however, few shafts have been sunk that far, the deapest was about 15k or 45000 feet. 30,000 is near the edge of practicality as plasticity of the rock and requirment for cooling the drill become critical a little deaper.

http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=567

A little piece about the deepest hole. The heat mentioned shows the huge potential of such systems but I have to wonder if over producing in the west and taking the transmittion loss might be easier than driving deep enough in the east to tap this kind of heat in the east.

Need more progress on supperconducting cable.

The use of abandoned mines, even flooded ones for community sized heat pumps should also be looked at.

GreyFlcn

--Meeting water requirements for geothermal plants may be an issue, particularly in arid regions.--

Well
1. Thats true of any sort of conventional power plant (Coal, Nuclear, Natural Gas)
2. Not neccisarily true of geothermal assuming the steam is recaptured back into water.

But certainly, it's less of a waterhog than coal or nuclear.

I was actually suprised to find that 39% of all US fresh water is spent on power plants.

_

Also for anyone actually on the westcoast.

1st Annual West Coast Geothermal Finance and Development Workshop

Carl Hage

When I was visiting Germany earlier I learned that the geothermal well digging in nearby Basel, Switzerland triggered earthquakes. See
Geothermal project lands in hot water and
Man-made tremor shakes Basel

George Bruce

Grey, why would it be less of a water hog than coal or natural gas or nuclear? If the steam can be recaptured, how would the water molecules know from whence they came?

GreyFlcn

This is perhaps the best discussion on that paper.

http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17236&ch=biztech

My favorite quote being:
Jefferson Tester: The figure for the whole world is on the order of 100 million exojoules or quads [a quad is one quadrillion BTUs]. This is the part that would be useable. We now use worldwide just over 400 exojoules per year. So you do the math, and you know you've got a very big source of energy.

GreyFlcn

--Grey, why would it be less of a water hog than coal or natural gas or nuclear? If the steam can be recaptured, how would the water molecules know from whence they came?--

Because all the geothermal has to do is compress it enough to turn it back into water.

Nuclear would not only need to compress it back to water, but also cool it to the extent that it could be used again as cooling fluid.

Also, considering the context is arid regions. There likely isn't a nearby lake or ocean to borrow.
Where as underground resivours are always availible.

Reality Czech
Nuclear would not only need to compress it back to water, but also cool it to the extent that it could be used again as cooling fluid.
This could only come from a person who has no idea of what a steam table is, let alone how to use one.
Nucbuddy

GreyFlcn wrote: all the geothermal has to do is compress it enough to turn it back into water. Nuclear would [...] need to [...] also cool it

You just re-invented the perpetual-motion machine.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnot_heat_engine

A heat engine acts by transferring energy from a warm region to a cool region of space


If, as you just implied, a geothermal powerplant could operate as a perpetual-motion machine, why could a nuclear powerplant not do the same?

GreyFlcn

--If, as you just implied, a geothermal powerplant could operate as a perpetual-motion machine, why could a nuclear powerplant not do the same?--

Thats your implication, not mine.


We are comparing a cooling fluid, versus a heating fluid.

All I'm saying is, it's easier to cool water down to the point where it's merely liquid. Versus making it a "cold liquid".

Likewise nuclear if it were to operate this way in a hot region, it would need to build holding resivours for all this, at a large infrastructure cost.

Geothermal on the other hand, between the earth's natural percolation and the infrastructure built by default, you'd have it sitting right there for you.

Nucbuddy

GreyFlcn wrote: We are comparing a cooling fluid, versus a heating fluid.

That is incorrect. Nuclear and geothermal powerplants operate upon identical fundamental principals. In either case, fluid is used to cool a core. In either case, that fluid then heats the general environment of the plant. Operating a geothermal powerplant transfers heat -- via core-cooling fluid -- from underground to the atmosphere, making that atmosphere hotter than it would have been otherwise.

David Neubert

Other than Iceland, is there anywhere where Geothermal is economically viable without subsidies?

GreyFlcn

NucBuddy wrote:
--Nuclear and geothermal powerplants operate upon identical fundamental principals. In either case, fluid is used to cool a core.--

Both projects need heating fluid.
But Geothermal doesn't need cooling fluid.

_

David Neubert wrote:
--Other than Iceland, is there anywhere where Geothermal is economically viable without subsidies?--

All energy projects recieve subsidies.
Some less, some more.
In Nuclear's case, more than all renewables combined.

Geothermal, gets almost zero federal support and is currently at the 4 $/W range.

Nucbuddy

GreyFlcn wrote: Geothermal doesn't need cooling fluid.

If you do not cool your "heating" (actually, core-cooling, of course) fluid down at some point, you are not going to make any power.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnot_heat_engine

You are again implying that geothermal powerplants can operate as perpetual-motion machines.
google.com/search?q=geothermal+power+plant+%22cooling+water%22

84,600 hits.

Performance indicators for geothermal power plantsFile Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML [geothermal power facility] = [production area] + [power plant]. • Production Area. Considered as a whole, ... Power factor, cooling water or ambient air
Paul Dietz

I was actually suprised to find that 39% of all US fresh water is spent on power plants.

Those tables refer to withdrawals. Most of the fresh water withdrawals are for once-through cooling systems, in which most of the water is returned to a river or lake and can (mostly) be reused. So it isn't being 'spent'.

Kit P.

While geothermal shows great promise, this study is pathetic. The authors do not have a clue about making electricity or the environmental impact. Arsenic is totally glossed over. After reading sections of the report and looking at the references, the authors are only offering an opinions based on Internet research for information about other sources of energy.

G. R. L. Cowan, boron combustion fan

Interesting bit of trivia: the T in MIT once stood for "Technology".

marcus

Kit P., many of the references are from peer reviewed journals. Now while these journals are available on the web that certainly doesn't belittle them any!

Engineer-Poet

GreyFlcn, when steam is expanded to a lower pressure, it condenses at a lower temperature.  When it leaves the condenser it is inevitably at a lower temperature than when it left the steam generator, as well as in a phase with lower heat content.

Short version:  your claim is utter nonsense.

When someone goes to the trouble of writing you a reality check, you should cash it.

Kit P.

Marcus, I am not commenting on the the references or geothermal potential. It is the authors of this study that I am belittling. First, they did not select the correct references for evaluating environmental impact. Second, they did not correctly evaluate the info form EIA.

I already knew that geothermal had great potential. Geothermal has the same problem with NIMBYism that hydroelectric, coal, and nuclear have. Maybe MIT was getting paid by the page.

Bill Hannahan

The theoretical maximum efficiency of a heat engine depends on the temperature of the heat source and the heat sink, it is;

(T high – T low) / T high

Nuclear plants produce steam at a slightly lower temperature and pressure than coal plants, on average. That is why they are slightly less efficient.

For geothermal plants the heat source is generally much cooler than a reactor core so efficiency is much lower. That means much more waste heat per kWh, and much more water consumption per kWh if wet cooling towers are used.

Dry cooling towers are much less efficient at extracting heat than wet towers. They need a larger temperature differential to extract heat which raises the effective T low, reducing efficiency, and they consume more electricity running fans to pump huge volumes of air through the heat exchangers, and they are very expensive.


GreyFlcn


re Engineer-Poet
--When someone goes to the trouble of writing you a reality check, you should cash it.--

Fair comment, I forgot about the T low necessity for the heat engine....
Dumbass comment.
My bad.

re Bill Hannahan:
--For geothermal plants the heat source is generally much cooler than a reactor core so efficiency is much lower.--

Thats why generators like geothermal, CSP, OTEC, and even nuclear PWRs tend to use a pressurized working fluid.



re Kit P.:
--First, they did not select the correct references for evaluating environmental impact. Second, they did not correctly evaluate the info form EIA. Geothermal has the same problem with NIMBYism that hydroelectric, coal, and nuclear have.--

And what industrial scale electricity generation system doesn't have NIMBYism and have to follow an EIR?

For instance, check out this discussion on wind turbines. (Flamebait, as chronicled by Grist)

The approval of the project

And then the sneaky disapproval.

Oh, the drama.

GreyFlcn

Hrmm, pretty cool

Raser, the worldclass AC Induction Engine company

Looks like they want to roll out some new Geothermal plants using their tech.

http://www.insidegreentech.com/node/1001

Doug

Anyone know how deep you have to go to get reach temperatures of about 150 C vs. 400 C.?

Kit P.

GreyFlcn, you are correct that all energy projects have to meet safety and environmental standards. Even those solar panels people think are so cool. Making energy is dangerous. If I burn green wood that results in a chimney fire that kills my children, should I be held legally responsible?

There is a certain logic to NIMBYism. Maybe, I do not think your cool technology is so so cool when I have look at it every day.

It is clear that GreyFlcn does not want a nuclear power plant in his back yard. Reading the MIT report, it is easy to see why GreyFlcn believes nuclear power is obsolete and could be replaced with geothermal. Environmental activism has made producing energy more expensive and more uncertain. The irony is that it is people like GreyFlcn who will prevent geothermal from happening while making nuclear come back an option.

What MIT missed is that 33 new nukes are in permit planning with a design life of 60 years, 50 % of existing nuke plants have been extended for 60 years, and the remaining plants will most likely also be extended for 60 years. Over the years, nuke case law has been settled. Every time a coal, wind farm, or geothermal project gets shot down based on NIMBYism, it makes nukes better to investors.

GreyFlcn

Well, I see it as more of an issue of opportunity costs, and externality costs.

For that same reason I would highly discourage Ethanol and PEM fuel cells.

I'm pretty well aware Geothermal isn't going anywhere fast though.

It's been effectively canceled as far as the DOE is concerned. (i.e. Zerofunded)

Its current capital cost is $4000/KW, which is more than double what nuclear costs now.

What I do see however is the raw potential.

Since outside of the subsidies framework, if we're willing to do carbon sequestration, or nuclear sequestration.
Essentially if we're doing that much digging, well digging and exploration-for-digging is nearly all the cost of geothermal.

Just 2 years ago, PV solar was at $5000/KW and CSP solar was at $4000/KW
FY 2008, they are both expected to hit the $2000/KW mark. (And drop further as time goes on)

Like Solar was 2 years ago, Geothermal is basically the same as it was 20 years ago.
Given better drilling and exploration tech, Geothermal could easily compete with Nuclear.

But obviously, it's just not there yet. Both in technology, and in funding.

Could it be there in 5 years, given some minor attention? Hell yes.

GreyFlcn

Hey, that makes sense

Was wondering why an electric motor company would be looking into geothermal

Then I remembered that all the drilling equipment is run on a hybrid electric system.
(Or in this case, maybe a full electric system)

So apparently drilling motors is their game.

GreyFlcn

Wow, and it looks like they are playing that game well.

"According to Raser, even with the most advanced permanent magnet neodymium super magnet materials, the flux density within the brushless DC motor is only half the flux capacity of iron. By contrast, Raser claims that its motor delivers near saturation flux capacity, effectively doubling iron utilization.

Maximizing flux density in the motor allows doubling of torque per unit of heat generation relative to a brushless DC motor. In other words, torque may be produced with less than a fourth of the energy losses. Power density is over twice as great for a given heat dissipation with a corresponding increase in motor efficiency.

The Symetron motor always operates efficiently at the ideal 90° torque angle yielding a three-fold boost in torque density (torque per pound of motor weight) over AC induction motors operating at a torque angle of 160° to 170° degrees, according to the company."

http://jcwinnie.biz/wordpress/?p=1206

GreyFlcn

Lol, cool beans.

Raser Geothermal PR Spam :P

Nucbuddy

GreyFlcn wrote: 2 years ago, PV solar was at $5000/KW

That is incorrect. 2 years ago, PV solar was at $9,000/kW. Today, PV solar is still at $9,000/kW.
solarbuzz.com/SolarIndices.htm

(I believe that those solarbuzz calculations ignore the real-estate costs. At $1 million/acre, real-estate costs would be about $2,500/kW.)

GreyFlcn

Thats silicon PV in 2007

I was refering to where CIGS PV is headed in 2008

CIGS is pretty cool to look at.
Looks like glossy photograph negatives film, cept with some copper wire strips laminated on it.

Real estate and installation costs are essentially free if you make your PV into roofing material. (Which is happening)

Miasole, for instance, has already partnered with one of the top 3 roofing material distributors to coextrude their PVs into roofing mats :)

Paul Dietz

At $1 million/acre, real-estate costs would be about $2,500/kW.)

Wow, that would be really expensive land for building PV plants. Desert land is typically at least 1000 times less expensive.

Nucbuddy

Italics-cancel test.

Thanks Nucbuddy, I went back and canceled italics where they started. -Jim

Kit P.

test sat

bz

Engineer-Poet

FWIW, a great deal of "expensive" real estate is available for solar energy for free.  Buildings need roofing and glazing, and these elements may actually be improved by addition of PV capabilities.  On top of this, power delivered at the point of use has zero losses or expenses for transmission and distribution.

Kit P.


Tell MIT and EP that it is not the price of real estate. Location and economy of scale. Both solar and geothermal are limited by these factors. Each site must be evaluated and is limited by the amount of energy at the site.

So just how stupid is PV on roofs. Although, the cost of transmission is zero, the additional cost of the reverse power breaker is hard to justify. Faux solar panels sounds like a great idea. Since PV does not work anyhow, just skip the hard part of making power and avoid the scam artist.

You will know PV is a good idea when the utility starts paying to you make electricity on your roof.

Reality Czech

I'd argue with you, Kit P., but the unwashed masses might mistake me for the idiot.

Sumyung Guy

Gee Kit P., did George W. hire you to troll the boards? At least it's entertaining to watch E.P. and others shoot huge holes into your trolling.

GreyFlcn

--You will know PV is a good idea when the utility starts paying to you make electricity on your roof. --

And what would they call it when that happens?
Maybe "NetMetering" would be a good phrase?

_

As for how "difficult" solar panels are.
They couldn't get much simpler.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYJe12X6T50
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYJe12X6T50

_

Geothermal, it's better in some places and worse in others.

But thats true of any technology.
Particularly Nuclear, which is usually hamstrung by either the need for massive cooling towers, or massive tracks of beachfront property.

And last I checked, Beachfront property.
Now that, is expensive.

ElectRich

I have only one concern. What happens when the cool water being pumped 30,000 feet down cracks the stone of a blocked volcanic vent?
We get a huge release of CO2 and who knows what other hazardous compounds blasting out as a Volcanic eruption occurs. Not my idea of an environmentally frendly source of energy. Give me surface geothermal, solar, wave and wind energy any day!

Tony

The figure is not 300 megawatts, but several gigawatts.

Kit P.

GreyFlcn, you linked marketing video. Yes, someone is willing to take your money. Your meter will turn backwards on a nice sunny day. The utility may be required to pay you a small amount but they are not investing investor's money. Any fool can make electricity on a nice day when you do not need it. Where will all those PV marketing guys be when it is 30 below at 4 am?

PV solar does not work when you need it.

Second, PV solar does not work very long. The solar industry does not talk about how much electricity they produce, they talk about how many consumers they rip off each year.

A minor comment about the video. You can tell it was not a utility installing the panels by the unsafe work practices.

Engineer-Poet

Kit P. is a strange kind of creature, affected with a defect in his vision.  He can only see what he's been told to believe; I think this is called "dogmatism", kind of like astigmatism but it means he can only see things with the proper political slants.

Little things like the 25-year warranty on current PV panels show what kind of fool he is, but it's on the wrong slant and he can't see it.

mds

Nucbuddy,
<$9,000/kW for 2 kW system
<$7,000/kW for 50 kW system
<$5,000/kW for 500 kW system
Higher cost for smaller systems is largely installation cost. BIPV will reduce this a lot in future.

Average cost of 125 W panels $4.88/W, but low end for cSi is $3.23/W and low end of thinfilm is $2.25/W.
http://www.solarbuzz.com/
Prices are higher than they should be due to high demand. The 125 W panel price will drop dramatically in near future. Not as dramatically as we'd all like because demand will kick in again. Will take some years for Nanosolar and other CIGS manufactures to bring PV panel prices down below $1/W, but they are going there. Combine this with cheaper BIPV installation and solar will be much cheaper in near future.

Kit P.

I just bought a heat pump with a lifetime warranty on the compressor. However, after 10 years I have to pay for labor. Most likely it will be cheaper in 11 years to replace whole unit than pay the labor on the installing the new compressor.

Only a fool think a warranty produces electricity. Instead of calling me a fool, just find the number for the amount of electricity produced by solar. Demanding to see the performance of solar would appear to be the opposite of dogmatism.

Adrian Akau

I think it good to keep in mind the safety issue. Geothermal is a safer technology than nuclear and should be developed with this aspect in mind. Costs for nuclear include both equipment and radiation insurance; I don't think that the costs of Cherynoble have been averaged in for nuclear in general. I would take Geothermal any day. I would not feel secure living within 10 miles of a nuclear facility, even if iodine tablets are being handed out for free.

adrianakau2aol.com

Paul Dietz

I don't think that the costs of Cherynoble have been averaged in for nuclear in general.

And why should they be? The Chernobyl design was horrifically deficient, unlicensable in the west. Why average it with prudently designed technologies just because they both happen to use uranium?

GreyFlcn

Accidents happen.
(Space flight for example)

The trick is that Uranium accidents don't go away.

G. R. L. Cowan, boron combustion fan

"Uranium accidents" do indeed go away. Look up the work of Ronald Chesser.

Dietz is right. The West had learned the lessons of Chernobyl by the early 1950s. The Soviet Union took longer, but nuclear icebreakers that Russia inherited from it embody those lessons to good enough effect that contractors for antinuclear organizations quietly get on board, as if aware that nuclear marine propulsion is the safest kind, but that they won't be paid if they say this.

GreyFlcn

re: Cowan
--"Uranium accidents" do indeed go away. Look up the work of Ronald Chesser.--

Wasn't he debunked by the US National Academy of Science?


_


re: Cowan
--good enough effect that contractors for antinuclear organizations quietly get on board--

I sure hope you aren't talking about Patrick Moore from GreenPeace.
Or even worse Christine Todd Whitman from the EPA.

Both are now co-chairs of CASE, the current largest nuclear lobbying organization.

You trust them?

Kit P.

Careful what you ask for. If only the safest way of generating electricity was allowed then you all would be required to own all electric houses generated only by nuclear. Transporting coal, natural gas, wind turbines, and solar panels would be banned as too dangerous.

Nuclear power is generally accepted as 100 times safer than other sources of electricity.

The comments to this entry are closed.

. .




Batteries/Hybrid Vehicles