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Google Investing Over $10 Million in Geothermal Energy

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Geothermal energy has finally hit the big time. Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, announced today that it is investing $10.25 million in an energy technology called Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS). The funding will also go towards geothermal resource mapping, information tools, and a geothermal energy policy agenda.


And it looks like Google made a wise investment choice. According to an MIT report on EGS, only 2% of of the heat beneath the continental US between 3 and 10 kilometers (depths we can reach with current technology) is more than 2,500 the annual energy use of the United States.


While traditional geothermal energy relies on finding natural pockets of hot water and steam, EGS fractures the hot rock, circulates water in its system, and uses the steam created from the process to create electricity in a turbine.

 

[Read more over at Cleantechnica]

post #2 of 6

This follows up nicely on our recent discussion about home geothermal use increasing and paying for itself in just a few years.  Those folks over at Google ain't no dummies.

post #3 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by dana1981:

  Those folks over at Google ain't no dummies.

 

Haha, I think we can agree on that. Here's a video they posted about the project...I'm having some Firefox issues and it keeps stopping at 3 seconds, but I'm fairly certain it's my computer, not the video itself. Working for you guys? How is it?

 

post #4 of 6

Yeah it worked for me.  Very interesting - good explanation of how geothermal power works.

post #5 of 6

This seems like a really good idea.

 

Now, I don't know a lot about why the Earth's core is so incredibly hot, and what keeps it that way...but do you think there could be any unintended consequences to cooling the Earth's core by opening these heat vents and pumping cold water down there continuously?  Like, maybe it's not a problem to have a couple of these plants, but once the whole world wants to be powered that way?

post #6 of 6

Nah, I don't think we could build enough geothermal plants to make a dent in the subsurface temperature of the planet.  Plus less than 1% of our heat at the surface comes from the Earth's core (over 99% from the Sun).  Plus we'll be combining geothermal with other energies like solar thermal, wind, etc.

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