Forgotten and filed away decades ago, millions of documents on geothermal research are now helping scientists make harvesting Earth’s energy affordable
Geologic data does not come cheap, especially when you are using it to build a multimillion-dollar geothermal power plant. Just ask Susan Petty, president and chief technology officer at AltaRock Energy. Her company is part of a $43.8-million pilot project to tap thermal energy from Oregon’s Newberry Volcano. Engineers are injecting water deep underground to fracture superheated rocks and create a geothermal reservoir. Their eventual goal is to recirculate pressurized steam back to the surface to test a new kind of technology called an enhanced geothermal system (EGS). Unlike conventional power plants that rely on near-surface hydrothermal systems like springs and geysers, EGS can draw energy up to depths of three to five kilometers. Over the next 50 years, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates, EGS power plants could produce 100 gigawatts of economically viable geothermal energy, an amount equivalent to about 10 percent of the country’s current electrical capacity.
Yet geothermal wells need to be drilled in the right place. Without data on the distribution and quantity of geothermal energy in the upper part of the earth’s crust or a volcano as a reference point, wells may not produce much energy at all. To date, two to five out of every 10 geothermal wells prospected end up dry. Petty says that, in terms of the available exploration data, the geothermal industry is in the same place oil and gas companies were during the early 1900s. Wells cost between $2 million and $5 million, meaning geothermal investors risk losing millions on poor odds, Petty says. “The risk involved in geothermal prospecting sets the industry apart from other renewables.”
The risky nature of the business could soon change, however.
A wealth of geologic data from all 50 states and the Gulf of Mexico has been sitting unused in state and federal filing cabinets for decades. The Arizona Geological Survey is leading a coalition of universities and federal agencies on a nationwide treasure hunt to find and digitize these legacy data in a National Geothermal Data System (NGDS) to eliminate some of the financial risk companies like AltaRock face while prospecting for geothermal resources. Since the project’s inception in 2008 under $35-million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Office, collaborators have digitized information from over 1.25 million oil and gas, water, and geothermal wells and expect to have as many as three million wells in the system by the end of the year.
“It has been a rescue mission,” says Roland Horne, director of Stanford University’s geothermal program. Project collaborators have found a wellspring of geothermal exploratory data in basements and old file cabinets. The legacy data come from extensive surveys of geothermal resources that were funded by the states and federal government in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. A prime example is a 1975-to-1992 DOE survey of geopressured resources in the Gulf of Mexico. The survey documents data from 16 wells off the coasts of Louisiana and Texas that show geopressured and geothermal energy reserves in the Gulf exceed the energy contained in all the conventional natural gas reserves of the continental U.S. At the time, the geothermal energy could not be profitably commercialized, so the data were filed away and forgotten.
The Latest Bing News on:
Geothermal Data System
- Iceland, a pioneer for geothermal energy?on June 5, 2023 at 11:29 am
Iceland is considered a pioneer for geothermal energy. The country has a real treasure under its earth and can generate power and heat with it. Local producers even use it ...
- Green heat for Duluth's Lincoln Park could be just a flush awayon June 3, 2023 at 11:01 am
In the next year, the city will study how to turn warm wastewater into district heating for hundreds of buildings — and it could be a model for the nation.
- Residents vent concerns about ‘Repower Project’ at Puna geothermal plant on Big Islandon June 2, 2023 at 2:31 pm
The 30-year-old Puna Geothermal Venture, the Big Island renewable energy power plant that drills into Kīlauea for stored heat in the volcano, has a long history of public distrust. The facility opened ...
- Issues of the Environment: Ann Arbor pushing to take Bryant neighborhood geothermalon May 31, 2023 at 3:39 am
Ann Arbor continues moving towards its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by the year 2030, and a new and innovative project in one of the city's neighborhoods is expected to help. A federal grant ...
- Stellantis, Vulcan Energy sign deal for geothermal projects in Franceon May 31, 2023 at 2:15 am
Carmaker Stellantis has signed a new agreement with Australia-listed lithium supplier Vulcan Energy Resources aiming to help decarbonise its European operations, the two groups said on Wednesday.
- ‘Nimble node’ system takes extreme conditions in strideon May 26, 2023 at 3:47 am
Mike Popham, chief executive of UK-based Stryde, cheerfully agrees that the market was pretty sceptical when his company came out of nowhere three years ago with a node-based land seismic data ...
- Luxury farm resort uses CLT framing and geothermal system to boost sustainabilityon May 23, 2023 at 1:17 pm
With sustainability a key goal, The Inn and Spa at Southall was built with cross-laminated and heavy timber, and a geothermal variant refrigerant flow (VRF) heating and cooling system. The four ...
- East African Geothermal Facility Webinar Series; Week 2- Resourceon May 23, 2023 at 12:23 am
Registration is open for Week 2 of the East Africa Geothermal Facility Webinar Series on the topics of Supercritical Geothermal, Resource Assessment, and Well Testing.
- Recap of Enhanced Geothermal Shot Summiton May 21, 2023 at 10:12 pm
Below is a recap of what happened at last week's Enhanced Geothermal Shot Summit.The theme of the day: The Enhanced Geothermal Shot is our opportunity to take a HUGE stranded energy resource . . .
- Geothermal systems take advantage of earth’s constant temperatureson April 20, 2023 at 5:00 pm
Geothermal home heating and cooling systems cost more to install than conventional systems but the energy savings are immediate and the systems pay for themselves in as little as five years ...
The Latest Google Headlines on:
Geothermal Data System
[google_news title=”” keyword=”Geothermal Data System” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
The Latest Bing News on:
- Essar embraces clean energy in green pivoton June 5, 2023 at 11:29 am
Ravi Ruia and his nephew Prashant are leading the Essar Group’s clean energy ventures following the successful resolution of the group’s crushing $25 billion debt, the people said on condition of ...
- New Youth Jobs-Training Across Clean Technology and Sustainable Resource Sectorson June 5, 2023 at 8:56 am
The Government of Canada is investing in the potential of young people across the country to ensure they develop and bring their skills, knowledge and experience to the table as Canada seizes economic ...
- Purdue Extension to connect underserved communities with funding for energy and environmental improvementson June 5, 2023 at 7:20 am
Purdue Extension has been selected to support a multistate effort to help rural, tribal and underserved communities access federal funding for energy and environmental improvement efforts.
- Permitting reform needed to speed along clean energy futureon June 4, 2023 at 2:06 am
Nevada has seen the reality of the climate crisis firsthand. Longer and more severe wildfire seasons have destroyed precious wildlife habitat and threatened Nevada’s natural crown jewels like ...
- The debt-ceiling bill that just passed the Senate eases the way for a new gas pipeline — and for clean energy projects like EV charging and solar panelson June 2, 2023 at 3:00 am
One of the bipartisan compromises in the debt-ceiling bill could make it easier to build energy projects in the US — both clean and fossil fuel.
- Mining atlas helps map Australia's clean energy futureon June 1, 2023 at 11:42 am
The Atlas of Australian Mine Waste was launched this week by Geoscience Australia in partnership with RMIT and University of Queensland researchers and geological surveys across the country.
- The world’s first maritime electric-tanker to offer clean energy transporton May 30, 2023 at 8:38 am
PowerX's first vessel will have 96 containerized marine batteries, providing a total capacity of 241MWh.
- A backed-up grid threatens clean energy growth from Virginia to Illinoison May 30, 2023 at 12:30 am
Backlogged power grids could be the biggest barrier to meeting U.S. decarbonization goals — and the grid operators in charge of clearing those backlogs and expanding grid capacity for solar, wind and ...
- ADERIS ENERGY EMPOWERS 2 GIGAWATTS OF CLEAN, RENEWABLE POWER THROUGH INNOVATIVE DISTRIBUTED ENERGY SOLUTIONSon May 26, 2023 at 2:09 pm
Aderis Energy, LLC, a technology pioneer in the field of distributed renewable energy, is proud to announce a landmark achievement in their commitment to a sustainable energy future. With their ...
- Colombia Oil, Gas Reserves Drop Amid Petro Clean Energy Pushon May 24, 2023 at 3:32 pm
Colombian natural gas reserves fell to the lowest since at least 2007 and oil reserves also dropped, putting pressure on President Gustavo Petro to rethink his ban on new fossil-fuel exploration.
The Latest Google Headlines on:
[google_news title=”” keyword=”clean-energy reserves” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]