BluePerspectives

This Kind of Fracking Can Help Solve Our Climate Problems

This story was originally published in the Guardian, and reproduced here with the Climate Desk Collaboration. The Earth’s crust contains an unlimited supply of heat, but harnessing this energy at scale has proven difficult. A combination of new technologies, government support, and the pressing necessity to secure clean power in

 [[{“value”:”This article was first published by the Guardian, and it is now available these as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
A endless supply of heat exists beneath our feet within the Earth’s crust, but harnessing it at scale has proved hard. In the US, thermal energy is ultimately having its moment thanks to a combination of innovative techniques, government support, and the urgent need for constant clean power in a climate crisis.
Where the Earth’s inward heat has been simmering close to the surface, such as at hot springs or geysers, where hot water or steam can be easily drawn to turbines and generate electricity, has historically been the only place geothermal has been feasible.
While this has allowed a minimal number of places, like Iceland, to use geothermal as a major source of heating and electricity, it has only been a niche presence in the US, providing less than 1 percent of the nation’s electricity. However, this could change significantly, bringing about the promise of unending, fresh energy that can supply the electricity grid’s sluggish solar and wind generation.
” Geothermal has been used for over 100 years, limited to certain geographic locations—but that is now changing”, said Amanda Kolker, the geothermal laboratory program manager at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory ( NREL).
We need to find a base load, which is now taken up by gas, as we enter the grid with renewables that are not available all the time. Geothermal is one of the few options for zero-emission base load power because there are n’t really many options.
” In the Eastern United States…if you drill only one to two miles full, you have temperatures hot enough for electricity”.
Thermal capacity could increase 20- fold by 2050, generating 10 percent of the US’s electricity, according to a new road map released by the US Department of Energy. Additionally, Joe Biden’s administration has provided funding for new projects that aim to advance the next generation of geothermal energy sources, making them accessible everywhere on America’s landmass as well as easy-to-access hot springs.
” The US can lead the clear- energy future with continued innovation on following- generation technologies, from harnessing the power of the sun to the heat beneath our feet, and cracking the code to deploy them at scale”, said Jennifer Granholm, the US energy secretary, who added that she saw “enormous potential” in thermal.
The department of energy estimates that as much as$ 250 billion will be required for projects to spread across the nation, making it a major source of clean power, as well as a lot of money.
However, thermal advocates claim that a boom in volcanic technologies and government support makes it possible for this to grow. The Biden administration announced$ 74 million for up to seven pilot projects to create superior thermal systems in February, which the government claimed have the ability to power 65 million American homes.
Unfortunately, increased geothermal employs fracking techniques that are already employed to extract oil and gas, which must be phased out if the world wants to avoid a climate catastrophe. In the volcanic version of fracking, fluid is injected deep underground, causing fractures to open up, with the wet becoming popular as it circulates. The warm water is then pumped to the surface to produce electricity for the grid.
Geothermal energy can be extracted from hot rocks somewhere underground, as well as from hot water that is present near the surface, along with various new techniques that allow deeper and horizontal drilling, some of which are down to eight miles deep. This greatly expands the potential of the technology.
” Somewhere in the country, if you drill, it gets hotter and hotter with each mile you go deeper”, said Koenraad Beckers, an NREL thermal sciences researcher.
” In the Eastern United States, that temperature increases rapidly. If you drill only one to two miles full, you will have temperatures warm enough for electricity. To get those temperatures in northeast states, you might need to drill miles and miles over, but you can use lower temperatures to directly heat or cool campuses, neighborhoods, and even towns”.
Numerous innovative businesses are looking to expand their geothermal plans, helped out by recent US legislation. However, only a few have so far been successful in carrying out full US projects, such as Eavor, a Canadian company that effectively drilled a three-mile hole in New Mexico to demonstrate its ability to access heat in deep, granite rock.
An unlimited energy supply is what these businesses are trying to solve. Only one type of second generation geothermal—called superhot rock energy, where strong drilling reaches temperatures 400 degrees Celsius or hotter—is abundant enough to potentially fulfill the world’s power requirements. In fact, only 1 % of the world’s superhot rock potential could supply 63 terawatts of fresh firm power, which would almost double the amount of international electricity demanded.
Although the modeling is primary, our findings point to an enormous potential to unlock a lot of fresh energy beneath our feet, according to Terra Rogers, the director for superhot rock energy at Clean Air Task Force, which created the model tool to assess the potential of this approach.
” Energy security supported by always available zero-carbon energy is n’t a far-off dream.””}]] The Guardian previously published this story, which is available these as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. The Earth’s crust contains a endless supply of heat beneath our feet, but harnessing it at a global scale has proved difficult. A combination of fresh techniques, government support, and the urgent need to ensure uninterrupted clean power is occurring right now. 

This story was originally published in the Guardian, and reproduced here with the Climate Desk Collaboration. The Earth’s crust contains an unlimited supply of heat, but harnessing this energy at scale has proven difficult. A combination of new technologies, government support, and the pressing necessity to secure clean power in

 

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