Excellent news on a technologies that could revolutionize geothermal energy produced waves at the American Geophysical Union meeting last week. Any individual who understands that the world’s hunger for energy will push our planet beyond the point of no return without technological solutions will welcome the thought of CO2 plume geothermal power or CPG.
The reason enhanced geothermal wells have to be deep is that the thermal efficiency (and hence the profitability) of geothermal generation is especially sensitive to the temperature of the water brought to the surface. That temperature demands to be 150ºC or additional to create steam effective sufficient to drive electrical turbines. Away from areas exactly where tectonic plates abut, the temperature of the underlying rocks increases by roughly 25º-30ºC per kilometre (23º-26ºF per 1,000 feet) of depth. This means that to get water hot enough to raise steam, you have to drill down a number of kilometres.
For creating nations, it is this sector in which there is the most potential for improvement as space and water heating form important parts of the energy spending budget in several parts of the planet. (In industrialized countries, 35-40 % of total principal energy consumption is utilized in buildings.) However, potential in this sector has remained largely untapped. Apart from China, creating nations have, as yet, shown incredibly limited interest in the installation of GHPs.
We have been spending some winter months in recent years in a smaller village on the North coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. When we first arrived it was a not atypical coastal town with dirt streets and thatched or tin roofs. It is safe inside one of Mexico’s biggest nature preserves , and it is right here since the village pre-existed the reserve, so it was allowed to remain as long as it behaved, and then even when it didn’t. Development has been very cruel to this area in current years, has produced it socially, economically and ecologically additional fragile, and has set it up for a huge fall in the not incredibly distant future.
Outdoors of the seasonal variations, the geothermal gradient of temperatures through the crust is 25-30 °C (77-86 °F) per kilometer of depth in most of the planet. The conductive heat flux averages .1 MW/km2. These values are considerably greater close to tectonic plate boundaries where the crust is thinner. They may be further augmented by fluid circulation, either through magma conduits , hot springs , hydrothermal circulation or a mixture of these.