- “geothermal Energy: Tapping Into Earth’s Heat For Electricity”
- World’s Deepest Hole Digger Could Unlock Enough Geothermal Energy To Power The World
- What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Geothermal Energy?
- Tapping Into The Million Year Energy Source Below Our Feet
- Pdf) Tapping To Geothermal Energy Through A High Performance Earth To Water Heat Exchanger Design
“geothermal Energy: Tapping Into Earth’s Heat For Electricity” – Quais says there is a plan and technology to drill deeper than ever before to repower fossil-fired power plants with green energy and unlock the Earth’s vast geothermal power.
MIT’s Paul Voskow is one of many who believe that millimeter-wave directed energy drilling is close to reaching a critical point.
“geothermal Energy: Tapping Into Earth’s Heat For Electricity”
A gyrotron on the surface can efficiently send beams of millimeter-wave energy more than 10 mm (6.2 miles) underground.
World’s Deepest Hole Digger Could Unlock Enough Geothermal Energy To Power The World
The fully abandoned welded Kola Superdeep well was photographed in 2012. An inauspicious end to the world’s deepest drilling project
Quaise’s hybrid ultra-deep drilling rig will combine traditional rotary drilling rigs with mm-wave directed energy drilling powered by pressure-purged gyrotrons with electromagnetically-transparent argon gas.
View gallery – 8 images MIT spin-off Quaise says it’s going to use hijacked fusion technology to drill the deepest holes in history, unlocking clean, nearly limitless, supercritical geothermal energy that could re-power fossil fuel power plants around the world.
Everyone knows the Earth’s core is hot, but sometimes its scale still has the power to surprise. The temperature of the iron core at the core is estimated to be around 5,200 °C (9,392 °F), generated by heat from the decay of radioactive elements combined with heat still present since the planet’s formation. Catastrophic violence is when a swirling cloud of gas and dust is crushed into a ball by its own gravity.
What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Geothermal Energy?
Where there is access to heat, there is geothermal energy that can be harvested. Paul Voskow, a senior fusion research engineer at MIT, says there is so much heat below the Earth’s surface that tapping just 0.1 percent of it could supply the entire world’s energy needs for more than 20 million years.
Access is the problem. When geothermal heat sources are naturally close to the surface, easily accessible and close enough to the relevant grid for economically viable transmission, geothermal becomes a rare example of completely reliable, 24-hour green power generation. The sun stops shining, the wind stops blowing, but the rock is always warm. In fact, these conditions are quite rare, and as a result, geothermal currently supplies only about 0.3 percent of global energy consumption.
If we can drill deep enough, we can put geothermal plants anywhere we want. But it’s harder than it sounds. The thickness of the Earth’s crust varies between 5–75 km (3–47 mi), with the thinnest parts tending to outcrop in the deep ocean.
The Kola Superdeep well is the deepest hole ever dug by mankind. The Russian project, near the Norwegian border, was launched in 1970 and aimed to drill down from the crustal mantle, with one hole reaching a vertical depth of 12,289 meters (40,318 feet) before the team in 1989. It was decided that it was impossible to go any deeper and ran out of money.
Geothermal Energy Could Save The Planet. But Watch For Earthquakes
At that depth, Koala team members expected the temperature to be around 100 °C (212 °F), but they found it was actually closer to 180 °C (356 °F). The rock was less dense and porous than expected, and these factors combined with elevated heat created nightmare drilling conditions. The Koala site is completely dilapidated, and this “entrance to hell,” a pinnacle (or perhaps nadir) of human achievement, is now an anonymous, weld-sealed hole.
Germany spent the equivalent of a quarter of a billion euros on its own version in the late 80s, but the German Continental Deep Drilling Program, or KTB, reached 9,101 meters (29,859 feet) before the well was finished. Again, temperatures rose much earlier than expected, and the KTB team was also surprised that the rock at this depth was not solidified, and large volumes of fluid and gas poured into the borehole to further complicate the effort.
These temperatures were hot enough to hamper the drilling process, but not hot enough to make a good geothermal energy business. So while these projects and other scientific resources are invaluable, new technologies are needed to unlock the geothermal potential beneath our feet.
When physical drill bits are difficult to operate, researchers have tested the ability of directed energy beams to heat, melt, fracture and even vaporize the underlying rock in a process called spallation, before the drill head touches it. You can see the effect of pulsing on hard rock in the GIF below from Petra’s “Swifty” boring robot, though Petra didn’t reveal exactly what it’s using to create that heat.
Tapping Into The Million Year Energy Source Below Our Feet
Military experiments in the late 90s showed that laser-assisted drilling can go through rock 10-100 times faster than conventional drilling, and you can bet this is of great interest to oil and gas companies.
A direct-energy drilling process, wrote Kenneth Oglesby, president of Impact Technologies, in a 2014 MIT report for the US DOE’s Geothermal Technology Program, would offer several major advantages: “1) There are no mechanical systems in the well that can wear out or break, 2) There is no temperature limit. , 3) equal ease of penetrating any rock hardness, and 4) the potential to replace the need for a casing/cement with a durable vitrified liner.”
That last point is interesting — a direct-energy drill effectively tempers the rock it cuts, melting the hole shaft as it goes and turning it into a layer of glass that seals out fluids, gases and other contaminants that previously caused problems. Ultra-deep drilling projects.
But laser, Oglesby wrote, don’t cut the mustard. “The deepest rock penetration achieved by lasers to date is only 30 cm (11.8 inches). There are fundamental physics and technical reasons for the lack of progress in laser drilling. First, the flow of rock extracting particles does not match the short-wavelength energy. The expected rock surface and are scattered and absorbed [by clouds of dust and particles] before contact. Second, laser technology lacks energy, efficiency, and is expensive.”
Network Of Geothermal Power Stations ‘could Help Level Up Uk’
The solution, it seems, may come from the world of nuclear fusion. In order to recreate the conditions at the heart of the Sun that crush atoms together and thus release the safest and cleanest nuclear energy, fusion researchers need to generate incredible amounts of heat. In the case of the ITER project we are talking in the range of 150 million degrees of sustain. Fusion research has been the beneficiary of billions of dollars in international government funding, accelerating progress and commercialization in other areas that may not have the budget.
One example is a gyrotron device originally developed in Soviet Russia in the mid-1960s. Gyrotrons generate electromagnetic waves in the millimeter wave portion of the spectrum, with wavelengths shorter than microwaves but longer than visible or infrared light. In the early 1970s, researchers working on tokamak designs for fusion reactors discovered that millimeter waves were an excellent way to significantly heat plasma, and over the past 50 years, gyrotron development has made impressive progress on the back of fusion research and DOE funding.
Indeed, gyrotrons capable of generating continuous beams of energy in excess of one megawatt are now available, which is wonderful news for deep drillers. “The scientific basis, technical feasibility, and economic potential of directed energy millimeter wave rock mining at frequencies of 30 to 300 GHz are strong,” Ogilvie wrote. “It prevents Rayleigh scattering and can couple/transfer energy to a rock surface 10
X is more efficient than laser sources in front of small particle extraction plumes. Continuous MW power millimeter-waves can also be conducted efficiently (> 90 percent) over large distances (> 10 km) using a variety of modes and waveguide (pipe) systems, including the potential of using smooth bore coils and joint/connected tubes. “
Pdf) Tapping To Geothermal Energy Through A High Performance Earth To Water Heat Exchanger Design
“Thermodynamic calculations,” he continued, “show that penetration rates of 70 m/hr (230 ft/hr) are possible in 1-cm (1.97-inch) holes with a 1-MW gyrotron coupled to rock with 100 percent efficiency. or the use of higher power sources (eg, 100 kW to 2 MW) allows for variation in pore size and/or penetration speed.”
That would be a big boost for conventional oil and gas drilling projects — but, barring many other surprises, it should significantly change the equation for ultra-deep drilling, making it possible and profitable to go deep enough into the crust to unlock some. On Earth’s immense geothermal energy potential.
In 2018, MIT’s Center for Plasma Science and Fusion launched a venture called Quais, specifically focused on ultra-deep geothermal energy using hybrid systems that combine traditional rotary drilling with gyrotron-powered millimeter-wave technology and a gas to clean Argon was pumped in. Cool the hole while shooting rock particles back to the surface and out of the way.
The company has raised US$63 million to date, consisting of $18 million in seed funding, $5 million and $40 million in a Series A financing round that closed earlier this month.
Geothermal Energy From Canals And Mineshafts
Quais plans to drill holes 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) deeper, significantly deeper than the Kola Superdeep well — but where it took the Kola team nearly 20 years to reach their limit, Quais envisions its gyrotron-enhancement process.
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