Let’s take a quick break from earthbag building and look at an interesting source of clean, renewable energy that advocates say is virtually unlimited and available all over the world. Most readers are probably aware of geothermal power stations (industrial systems located at geothermal hot spots) and geothermal heat pumps that capture heat from the earth for buildings. Hot dry rock geothermal energy is a community-scale, mid-sized system between these two extremes that doesn’t have to be located on geothermal hot spots (although this would increase the efficiency). What do you think? Should this receive more funding and research than “clean and renewable nuclear energy”?

From the video: “Yes, Hot Rock Geothermal Energy can supply all the energy we’ll ever need, say scientists and environmentalists familiar with the technology. It taps the heat in the rock just below the ground. There is no environmental cost, no safety problems, no waste. And it works! This program explains how Hot Dry Rock Geothermal Energy functions – and why it’s not being fully developed.”

A Geodynamics project in a 1,000 square kilometer area of central Australia could produce enough steam generated electricity for all of Australia for 70 years. The electricity from this field is expected to cost the same as from coal-fired power plants but with no pollution. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdYMXGtXbEA&feature=related


Comments

Hot Dry Rock Geothermal Energy — 7 Comments

  1. Thanks for mentioning Rossi’s Low energy nuclear reactor. I had not heard of it until your comment. I apologize for going off topic here.

    Since posting the comment above I have been thinking about the subject of lifestyle change from consumerism to sustainability. I would much rather that the change took place by choice than by us making the change because we have no other choice. Usually when we have no other choice, the change is painful.

    What if these new technologies (E-Cat, halophyte aquaculture et. al.) allows the growth paradigm to continue? What if the walls get moved further away, buying our civilization more time to sort ourselves out?

    Maybe our work is to prepare an alternative system that runs parallel to the unsustainable one which we left behind, a system of sustainable communities built on sustainable tech, that gives society something better to transition into. Right now, there is no “something better” to transition into, that’s available to everyone. Where do people go en masse if there is a sudden shift to live more sustainably?

    • It’s hard to say what will happen. History shows people are slow to change and accept new things, so it’s unlikely everyone will suddenly want sustainable energy unless the price is dirt cheap. And that’s what some of these technologies are promising. E-cat continues to gain supporters. A chief NASA scientist said it’s the most promising new energy technology. And a competing company using nickle/hydrogen says their system will be even more effective than Rossi’s. It will be interesting to see how this develops.

  2. Any new technology that claims to support our consumer lifestyle should be carefully thought out. If this is going to allow us to continue living the way we are now, maybe it’s not really sustainable. Will unlimited electrical power continue to support mass production, industry, inefficient buildings, appliances and suburbia?

    This energy crisis is giving us a fantastic opportunity to rethink and redesign how we live on earth. Maybe affordable limitless electrical energy should be accompanied by a better understanding and consciousness of how that energy is employed.

    • That’s an excellent point. I’ve been thinking along these lines as I hear about emerging technologies like Rossi’s E-Cat. (Not sure yet if his invention is for real, but scientists are gradually lining up behind the concept. A full scale industrial version is supposed to be operational in October, so time will tell.)

      The E-Cat in particular (electricity at a fraction of current prices) and hot rock to a lesser degree would enable the current growth paradigm to continue. We’re obviously hitting a wall of too many people chasing limited resources, and so we’re at some sort of crossroads. That’s why I’ve always supported low tech/low cost natural building versus big business type green building.

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