Heat mining has the potential to supply a significant amount of the country’s electricity currently being generated by conventional fossil fuel, hydroelectric and nuclear plants.
A comprehensive new MIT-led study of the potential for geothermal energy within the United States has found that mining the huge amounts of heat that reside as stored thermal energy in the Earth’s hard rock crust could supply a substantial portion of the electricity the United States will need in the future, probably at competitive prices and with minimal environmental impact.
… continuing improvements in deep-drilling and reservoir stimulation technology
… requires depths of ~5,000 feet in the west, deeper in the east
… a non-interruptible source of electric power
… a non-carbon-based energy source
The expert panel offers a number of recommendations to develop geothermal as a major electricity supplier for the nation. Science Blog
Maybe the first “closed-loop geothermal power plant” proposal? I worked with Tom Brown over several years, a founder of Tosco Petroleum and a Fellow of the American Petroleum Institute. In the months before he passed away, we were developing prospects for “re-injectable” geothermal systems. Many geothermal sites exhaust their supply of steam water.
A new and exciting breakthrough was also being introduced where hot brine water would be expanded directly onto the generator’s turbine blades. A direct turbine system eliminates the capital and lifecycle costs of a conventional two-stage system now used in order to separate caustic and corrosive brine from critical machinery.