New drilling technique aims to bring down the cost of geothermal electricity
Jun 22, 2009 13:01
New drill to lower cost of geothermal energy.
Researchers believe that if harnesses efficiently, the energy stored deep under the surface of the earth can meet the demand of energy thousands of times over and all that energy can be converted into electricity using processes that don’t essentially emit any greenhouse gases. The current technology uses drilling techniques to drill holes deep enough to convert water into steam. This technique is both expensive and inefficient as many drill bits are broken after being subjected to extreme temperature ranging from 3200 and 7200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Potter Drilling, is developing a new technology which can be used to drill holes up to 30,000 feet deep, using drill bits that never come in contact with the surface of the earth and hence they last longer. The technology makes used of hydrothermal spallation, a process of shooting hot water at the rock in order to exploit the flaws in the rock’s construction.
Once the holes are drilled to specific depths, water is pumped into these holes, which gets superheated as it hits the hot lava underneath and instantly gets converted into steam, which then gushes to the surface and is used to generate electricity. The company believes that the new technique of drilling holes can lower the cost of electricity and bring it in par with the cost of electricity generated in coal-fired power plants. Moreover, since the process doesn’t burn any fuel the electricity generated is both green and renewable.
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