Friday, March 30, 2007

Tesla Turbines proposed for geothermal energy

From American Antigravity...
Hayes claims 55% conversion efficiency; highest in its class

"Former Rockwell Engineer Jeff Hayes proposes that Tesla Turbines can be used to tap geothermal energy from underground salt-brine in locations all over the world. Hayes is part of the International Tesla Turbine Builders Society, and well-versed in the potential of this often-overlooked but commercially viable technology.

Hayes comments that the Salton Sea in California contains enough geothermal energy locked in salt-brine to meet the entire electrical needs of the United States 20 times over, if only it could be harnessed electrically. That requires spinning a turbine, and only the Tesla Turbine is durable enough to undertake this challenge. Hayes focus is on the engineering challenges involved with making Tesla Turbines a practical tool, as well as the unique characteristics of this technology that allow it to outperform conventional bladed turbines."

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Calpine up 17% on buyout rumors

From Renewable Energy Journal...
"Calpine has been in bankruptcy reorganization for some time and has steadily been divesting assets over the past 18 months."

"It is widely rumored that the Carlyle Group and AES have bid to buy Calpine and its $26B in assets. A key asset Calpine holds is the Geysers geothermal power plant complex in Northern California of which Calpine owns 20 of the 22 plants producing around 700MW, or 5.5 gigawatt hours of electricity, enough to power San Francisco each year."

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U.S. Senate actions indicate that coal is here to stay

"Coal is here to stay as a significant part of the national fuel mix even as there is increased investment in wind, nuclear and geothermal projects. In a study on the future of coal released earlier this month by MIT, experts said, "We believe that coal use will increase under any foreseeable scenario because it is cheap and abundant."

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Presentation: "Future of Geothermal Energy"

The following summary points were given on March 1, 2007 as part of a slideshow presentation at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Advantages of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) — power plants in 'low grade' settings where the hot rock source is deeper in the earth — are listed as follows:

  1. Large, indigenous, accessible base load power resource — 14,000,000 EJ of stored thermal energy accessible with today’s technologies. Key point — extractable amount of energy that could be recovered is not limited by resource size or availability
  2. Fits portfolio of sustainable renewable energy optionsEGS complements the existing portfolio and does not hamper the growth of solar, biomass, and wind in their most appropriate domains.
  3. Scalable and environmentally friendly — EGS plants have small foot prints and low emissions — carbon-free and their modularity makes them easily scalable from large size plants.
  4. Technically feasible — Major elements of the technology to capture and extract EGS are in place. Key remaining issue is to establish inter-well connectivity at commercial production rates — only a factor of 2 to 3 greater than current levels.
  5. Economically favorable — projections favorable for high grade areas now with a credible learning path to provide competitive energy from mid- and low-grade resources
  6. Deployment costs modest — an investment of $200-400 million over 15 years would demonstrate EGS technology at a commercial scale at several US field sites to reduce risks for private investment and enable the development of 100,000 MWe.
  7. Supporting research costs reasonable — about $40 million/yr needed for 15 years — low in comparison to what other large impact US alternative energy programs will need to have the same impact on supply.


Report: Geothermal industry in the U.S. remains up-beat for future expansion

From Business Wire...
"Geothermal heat is a significant provider of energy in a small number of countries, all located in regions subject to earthquakes and volcanoes. This report provides an excellent introduction and understanding of the three technologies for exploiting geothermal energy: 1) power generation, 2) ground source heat pumps, and 3) direct use."
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Editor's Note: The Research and Markets report does not include innovations such as Geothermal Canal that make power production possible in a wider range of geological settings.

West Coast Geothermal Finance and Development Workshop

May 10, 2007 ~ San Francisco

"Leading finance, development, and energy experts will share their knowledge at the first annual West Coast Geothermal Energy Development and Finance Workshop. The event will take place May 10, 2007 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco..."

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Geothermal power plants could also consume CO2

Pumping carbon dioxide through hot rocks

"Pumping carbon dioxide through hot rocks could simultaneously generate power and mop up the greenhouse gases produced by fossil fuel power stations, according to a new study....Karsten Pruess, a hydro-geologist at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in the U.S., carried out the study and says carbon dioxide could theoretically boost the amount of energy produced by hydrothermal plants by 50% or more. At the same time, Pruess calculates that the technique could be used to dispose of the carbon dioxide produced by conventional power plants, which contribute to global warming."

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

U.S. military leads renewable charge

According to Montara Energy Ventures, the Coso geothermal installation on the China Lake Naval Station in southern California is an example of a common pattern:

"The U.S. military is actually leading the way in the installation and use of renewable energy. The military has large chunks of space with renewable resources available coupled with enormous utility bills. This combination leads the military to the obvious conclusion that using the renewable resources will free up dollars for use elsewhere...


Friday, March 23, 2007

U.S. Geothermal wins Idaho Power bid

"U.S. Geothermal Inc. has been named as the successful bidder for Idaho Power Company's request for proposals (RFP, which was sent out last August for up to 100 megawatts (MW) geothermal electricity, enabling negotiations for a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) between the two companies for an annual average of 45.5 megawatts (MW)...."

World Bank promotes geothermal energy

From the World Bank...
"The Europe and Central Asia (ECA) - Geothermal Energy Development Program aims to systematically promote the use of geothermal energy in the ECA region by removing barriers to the development of renewable energy."

Nevada lawmakers hear good news from solar, geothermal power companies

From the Associated Press via the Las Vegas Sun...
"Nevada is making steady progress toward becoming a national leader in solar and geothermal energy, state lawmakers were told Thursday..."

Monday, March 19, 2007

Stopping the coal rush

From the Sierra Club/Environmental Law Program...
Coal plants are the dirtiest, most regressive source of energy. —The Sierra Club

The United States is facing "an unprecedented rush to build new coal-fired power plants," according to the Sierra Club. "These plants," the leading environmental group claims, "are poisoning our communities and our wilderness."


The Sierra Club opposes the onrush of new coal-burning plants. Their web page on "Stopping the Coal Rush" shows a map of 83 proposed sites, a portion of the 114 slated for construction.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Geothermal potential

From the Climate Crisis Coalition: Daily News
New geothermal power projects by 2050 could provide 100,000 megawatts of electricity—enough to power about 80 million US homes, or as much as US nuclear power plants make today, the MIT study said. But US geothermal development will ...
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A step toward inexpensive geothermal energy

From Ohio State University, via Science Daily...

Advocates call it one of the cleanest, sustainable energy resources available. However, steep construction, equipment and drilling costs have prevented more widespread development of geothermal technology. An Ohio University hydrothermal systems expert is working to change that...


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

White House seeks to cut geothermal research funds

From Reuters...

The Bush administration wants to eliminate federal support for geothermal power just as many U.S. states are looking to cut greenhouse gas emissions and raise renewable power output. The move has angered scientists who say there is enough hot water underground to meet all U.S. electricity needs without greenhouse gas emissions.

"[Geothermal] is far from a mature technology." —Roy Mink, former geothermal program director at the U.S. Dept. of Energy

The Department of Energy has not requested funds for geothermal research in our fiscal-year 2008 budget," said Christina Kielich, a spokeswoman for the Department of Energy. "Geothermal is a mature technology. Our focus is on breakthrough energy research and development."

The administration of George W. Bush has made renewable energy a priority as it seeks to wean the United States off foreign oil, but it emphasizes use of biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel for vehicles and nuclear research for electricity. In spite of its enormous potential, the geothermal option for the United States has been largely ignored,' a recent study led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said.

Last year, the DOE requested no funding for geothermal for the 2007 fiscal year, after funding averaged about $26 million over the previous six years, but Congress restored $5 million. This year, the DOE's $24.3 billion budget request includes a 38 percent federal spending increase for nuclear power, but nothing for geothermal.

Advocates say they hope Congress can restore at least $25 million in funding to keep geothermal research on track...

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Lawyers Say Energy Clients Getting Green

From the Daily Report (legal news and information)...

"RENEWABLE ENERGY makes up only a small fraction of U.S. energy use — 6 percent, according to the most recent figures from the Energy Information Administration — but the buzz over renewables is huge, and the number of renewable deals being done is increasing rapidly..."


Southern California Edison Once Again the Nation's Leading Renewable Energy Purchaser in 2006


In 2006, Southern California Edison (SCE) once again let the nation in renewable energy purchases and deliveries to customers. SCE reports that it delivered 12.6 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy during 2006...enough to serve 1.8 million homes for the entire year.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Colorado called the "Saudi Arabia" of geothermal energy

From the Grand Junction Sentinel - Grand Junction,CO
"Colorado is the “Saudi Arabia” of geothermal energy, and Mesa State College is leading the way in exploiting it, Tom Plant, director of [Colorado] Gov. Bill Ritter’s Office of Energy Management and Conservation, said Friday."

Friday, March 9, 2007

Technical Papers: Engineered Geothermal Systems

From the 2007 Stanford Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering...
Q: Are natural hot springs necessary for geothermal power generation?

Technical papers delivered recently at Stanford University (U.S.) reflect the latest thinking about enhanced or engineered geothermal systems, which do not require hot springs or other natural sources of hot water.

Engineered geothermal systems—still in the early stages of development—create an artificial 'reservoir' deep in the earth by infusing hot dry rock with water to generate steam. The captured steam, in turn, drives turbines that yield commercial-grade electricity.

Links to the conference papers are provided in the scrolling directory below.

(1) "The Future of Geothermal Energy: An Assessment of the Energy Supply Potential of Engineered Geothermal Systems (EGS) for the United States" — Tester, Blackwell, Petty, Richards, Moore, Anderson, Livesay, Augustine, DiPippo, Nichols, Veatch, Drake, Toksoz, Baria, Batchelor & Garnish
(2) "Cost of Electricity from Enhanced Geothermal Systems" — Sanyal, Morrow, Butler & Robertson-Tait
(3) "Updated U.S. Geothermal Supply Characterization " — Petty & Porro
(4) "Chemical Stimulation in Near-Wellbore Geothermal Formations: Silica Dissolution in the Presence of Calcite at High Temperature and High pH" — Rose, Xu, Kovac, Mella & Pruess
(5) "Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage in the Fractured London Chalk. a Thermal Injection / Withdrawal Test and Its Interpretation" — Law, Nicholson & Mayo
(6) "Estimation of Mineral Transportation in HDR Circulation Test" — Yanagisawa, Matsunaga & Sugita
(7) "Thermal Modelling of Long Term Circulation of Multi-Well Development at the Cooper Basin Hot Fractured Rock (HFR) Project and Current Proposed Scale-Up Program" — Vörös, Weidler & Wyborn
(8) "An Investigation of the Dixie Valley Geothermal Field, Nevada, Using Temporal Moment Analysis of Tracer Tests" — Reed
(9) "Thermal Characteristics of the Chena Hot Springs Alaska Geothermal System" — Erkan, Holdman, Blackwell & Benoit
(10) "Exploration and Development at Dixie Valley, Nevada: Summary of DOE Studies" — Blackwell, Smith & Richards
(11) "Geothermal Resources at Naval Petroleum Reserve-3 (NPR-3), Wyoming" — Milliken
(12) "Inferring Well-to-Well Connectivity Using Nonparametric Regression on Well Histories" — Horne & Szucs
(13) "Analysis of Well Tests in Afyon Ömer-Gecek Geothermal Field, Turkey" — Onur, Cinar, Aksoy, Serpen & Satman
(14) "Convective Dispersion in a Real Fracture" — Bauget & Fourar
(15) "Well Path Design and Stimulation Treatments at the Geothermal Research Well GTGRSK4/05 in Groß Schönebeck" — Zimmermann, Reinicke, Blöcher, Milsch, Gehrke, Holl, Moeck, Brandt, Saadat & Huenges
(16) "New Well Test Measurement Technique for Low Enthalpy Geothermal Wells" — Serpen & Aksoy
(17) "Reliability of Early Modeling Studies for High-Temperature Reservoirs in Iceland and the Philippines" — Sarmiento & Björnsson
(18) "The Use of Inflow Performance Relationships to Identify Reservoir Response During Production Tests in a Geothermal Well" — Aragón, Suárez, Moya, & Izquierdo
(19) "Chemical Characteristics of the Coso East Flank Hydrothermal Fluids: Implications for the Location and Nature of the Heat Source" — Christenson, Kennedy, Adams, Bjornstad & Buck
(20) "A Study on the Production and Reservoir Performance of Omer-Gecek/Afyon Geothermal Field" — Satman, Onur, Serpen & Aksoy
(21) "Deep Heat Mining in the Austrian Alps - a Prelimenary Look on Possibilities and Limitations" — Salcher & Goetzl
(22) "Use of Rapid Temperature Measurements at a 2-meter Depth to Augment Deeper Temperature Gradient Drilling" — Coolbaugh, Sladek, Faulds, Zehner, & Oppliger
(23) "Geothermal Energy Development along Africa's Rift Valley (no paper)" — Echavarria
(24) "Reservoir Pressure Drawdown and the Alum Lakes, Wairakei" — Newson & O'Sullivan
(25) "Water Injection as a Means for Reducing Non-Condensible and Corrosive Gases in Steam Produced from Vapor-Dominated Reservoirs" — Pruess, Spycher & Kneafsey
(26) "Geomechanical Facies Concept and the Application of Hybrid Numerical and Analytical Techniques for the Description of HTMC Coupled Transport in Fractured Systems" — McDermott, Xie, Kosakowski, Mettier, Moog & Kolditz
(27) "Assessing Uncertainty in Future Pressure Changes Predicted by Lumped-Parameter Models: A Field Application" — Tureyen, Sarak & Onur
(28) "Integrated Dense Array and Transect Mt Surveying at Dixie Valley Geothermal Area, Nevada; Structural Controls, Hydrothermal Alteration and Deep Fluid Sources" — Wannamaker, Doerner & Hasterok
(29) "Streaming Potential Measured for an Intact Rock Sample at Temperatures to 200 C" — Ishido & Matsushima
(30) "Microearthquake Survey at the Buranga Geothermal Prospect, Western Uganda" — Ochmann, Lindenfeld, Barbirye & Stadtler
(31) "Microearthquake Moment Tensors from the Coso Geothermal Area" — Julian, Foulger & Monastero
(32) "Net Power Capacity of Geothermal Wells Versus Reservoir Temperature - a Practical Perspective" — Sanyal, Morrow & Butler
(33) "Experimental Measurement of Two-Phase Relative Permeability in Vertical Fractures" — Speyer, Li & Horne
(34) "Thermodynamic Model for Predicting Interactions of Geothermal Brines with Hydrothermal Aluminum Silicate Minerals" — Moller, Christov & Weare
(35) "Output of Thermal Energy from Mutnovsky Volcano (Kamchatka) and Thermal Feeding of Mutnovsky Hydrothermal System" — Vereina
(36) "Tracer Tests Evaluating Hydraulic Stimulation at Deep Geothermal Reservoirs in Germany" — Ghergut, Sauter, Behrens, Licha, McDermott, Herfort, Rose, Zimmermann, Orzol, Jung, Huenges, Kolditz, Lodemann, Fischer, Wittig, Güthoff & Kühr
(37) "Stress State at Soultz-Sous-Forêts to 5 km Depth from Wellbore Failure and Hydraulic Observations" — Valley & Evans
(38) "Ongoing Resource Assessment of Geothermal Energy from Deep Sedimentary Basins in Texas" — Erdlac, Armour, Lee, Snyder, Sorensen, Matteucci & Horton
(39) "Stress and Pore Pressure Distribution Around a Pressurized, Cooled Crack in Low Permeability Rock" — Ghassemi
(40) "Geologic Setting of the Chena Hot Springs Geothermal System, Alaska " — Kolker, Newberry, Layer, Larsen & Stepp
(41) "The Shallow Hydrothermal System of Long Valley Caldera, California" — Suemnicht, Sorey, Moore & Sullivan
(42) "In Search for Thermal Anomalies in the Coso Geothermal Field (California) Using Remote Sensing and Field Data" — Eneva, Coolbaugh, Bjornstad & Combs
(43) "Discovering a New Buried Geothermal Field Found Using Geological-Geophysical and Geochemical Methods Uchbash-Saphane, Kutahya Western Anatolia, Turkey" — Burçak, Sevim, Hacisalihoglu
(44) "Updated Methods for Estimating Recovery Factors for Geothermal Resources" — Williams
(45) "Numerical Simulation of Tracer Testing Data at the Uenotai Geothermal Field, Japan" — Nakao, Ishido & Takahashi
(46) "Modeling and Forecast of the Exploitation the Pauzhetsky Geothermal Field, Kamchatka, Russia" — Kiryukhin, Asaulova, Rychkova, Obora, Manukhin & Vorozheikina
(47) "Geothermal Brine Invasion in Oil Reservoirs: A 3D Generalization of the Buckley-Leverett Model Using Non-Linear Finite Elements" — Suarez & Samaniego
(48) "Petrophysical Characterization of Carbonate Naturally Fractured Reservoirs for Use in Dual Porosity Simulators" — Pulido, Samaniego, García-Gavito, Galicia-Muñoz & Velez-García
(49) "An Update on Geothermal Energy Potential of Turkey" — Satman, Serpen & Korkmaz
(50) "Triple Porosity Model-Dual Permeability with Transient Diffusivity Hydraulic in Naturally Fractured Reservoirs " — Pulido, Samaniego, Cinco-Ley, Rivera & Galicia
(51) "The Composition Models of Local Materials Additive to Light Weight Cement on HTHP Conditions" — Nur & Dody
(52) "Silica Extraction from Hydrothermal Heat Carrier by Membrane Filters" — Potapov, Parshin, Gorbach, Kashpura, Min & Ermachihin
(53) "Experiments on Silicates and Gels Production with Using of Silica Extracted from Hydrothermal Solution" — Kashpura, Potapov, Turina, Zubaha, Gorbach
(54) "Petrography and Mineral Alteration in Berlín Geothermal Field" — Torio-Henriquez
(55) "Geothermal Resources Exploration and Wellsite Selection with Environmental Considerations Using GIS in Sabalan Geothermal Area, Iran" — Noorollahi, Itoi, Fujii & Tanaka
(56) "Estimation of the Sub-Surface Temperature by Means of Magnetotelluric Sounding" — Spichak, Zakharova, Rybin
(57) "HDR Project Soultz: Hydraulic and Seismic Observations During Stimulation of the 3 Deep Wells by Massive Water Injections" — Tischner, Schindler, Jung & Nami
(58) "Geothermal Potential Site Selection using GIS in Iran" — Yousefi, Ehara & Noorollahi
(59) "Investigation of Salt Precipitation in Geothermal Reservoir Near Sealing Conditions" — Tsypkin & Calore
(60) "Lithostratigraphy of Nigeria-An Overview" — Shitta
(61) "A Prospect Geothermal Potential of an Abandoned Copper Mine" — Tóth & Bobok
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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Growth Forecast in Clean Energy Markets

From the Energy Blog...

"Global clean-energy markets are poised to quadruple in the next decade, growing from $55.4 billion in revenues in 2006 to more than $226.5 billion by 2016 for four benchmark technologies, according to the sixth annual Clean Energy Trends report."

download (pdf)

Tradeshow: Power-Gen Renewable Energy & Fuels 2007

From Renewable Energy Access...

The Politics of Renewable Energy at PGRE&F 2007—Wind, solar, geothermal, biofuels and other industry segments represented at the largest all-renewables conference in Las Vegas March 6-8...


Analysis: Costs of Clean vs. Conventional Energy

From Renewable Energy Access...

By Scott Sklar—Let us take a hypothetical 300 MW combined renewable energy plant composed equally of geothermal or microhydro/tidal, photovoltaics or concentrated solar power, and wind—all with 20-year warranted output—able to produce electricity 24 hours, 7 days per week.

Now I probably can provide a combined cost including operations and maintenance over these 20 years. But now comes the challenge. Can I find a conventional technology which can provide energy, without any fuel escalation, with zero emissions, and no waste to compete against this plant?

Sklar heads the steering committee of the Sustainable Energy Coalition.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Radio Report: "Deep Heat"

From 'Living on Earth' radio journalist Curt Nickisch...

"Whether more parts of the country are home to geothermal energy plants mining heat miles below the earth's surface, may depend on whether Tester and others like him can drill their point into the minds of policymakers."


Geothermal Advocates go to Washington

The following presentations were given at the March 1, 2007 briefing on geothermal energy to members of the U.S. Congress. This second annual briefing was hosted by Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and featured the following presenters:

(1) Bernie Karl, Chena Hot Springs Resort, Alaska

(2) Karl Gawell, Geothermal Energy Association (GEA)

(3) Jefferson Tester, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

(4) Roy Mink, U.S. Geothermal Inc.*

(5) Paul Thomsen, Ormat Technologies Inc.

*Mink is the former DoE Geothermal Program Director.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

U.S. zero budget for geothermal technology program

From the EERE briefing on the 2008 U.S. Federal Budget...

The Geothermal Technology Program has worked in partnership with industry to establish geothermal energy as an economically competitive contributor to the U.S. energy supply.

Geothermal energy production, a $1.3 billion a year industry, generates electricity or provides heat for direct applications, including aquaculture, crop drying, and district heating, or for use in heat pumps to heat and cool buildings. The technologies developed by this program are providing the Nation with new sources of electricity that are highly reliable and cost competitive and do not add to America’s air pollution or the emission of greenhouse gases. Geothermal electricity generation is not subject to fuel price volatility and supply disruptions from changes in global energy markets.

Priorities are focused on technology development with broadly applicable and more readily accelerated public benefits —EERE

While geothermal energy remains an important regional contributor to the Nation’s energy needs, current EERE priorities are focused on technology development with broadly applicable and more readily accelerated public benefits. Therefore, the Department plans to close out the Geothermal Technologies Program. This closeout decision was based upon a review of EERE program funding priorities – which include a broad spectrum of considerations."

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Thursday, March 1, 2007

Geothermal Stocks: 'Heating Up'

SeekingAlpha/Energy Stocks

According to reports, the following geothermal stocks have been "heating up."