New technology - that could solve our energy problem?!

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New technology - that could solve our energy problem?!

Post by frihet »

Start listening 43 min in. ... revolution

What do you engineers think? I think it sounds like an obvious solution to our energy problem.

Excerpt from the transcript. The relevant part starts on page 9. ... dland/file

"Erik: I know where you're headed, because I've been thinking about this since our Smarter
Markets interview, and one of the points that you made is there's a gigantic nuclear reactor, it's
called the center of the earth. And it's generating intense amounts of heat, to the point that there
are major granite formations that are heated to several 100 degrees Celsius, that are just I don't
know how many 1000 feet it is below the surface. But not that much farther than current
technology has the ability to mine. And you made the point in those interviews we did on
Smarter Markets that all you need in order to deliver the world a safe, completely clean source
of unlimited electric energy, is figure out how to drill deeper holes, drill them horizontally the
same way that we drill oil wells horizontally today, but at a larger diameter and drill them through
very hot rock, the several 100 degrees granite.
If we could drill radiators, as you put it into granite submerged, you don't have to tell me how
many 1000 feet below the surface. You could create geothermal electric plants that could supply
the entire world with unlimited completely clean, green energy. And all you have to do is what?
It's build a better drill bit. Tell us again precisely what's the technology that's needed in order to
enable that outcome. And why couldn't we just take existing lateral drilling oil rig technology? It
seems like to me it's not that far off. What's the shortcoming? The drill bit can't drill the big
enough hole or it can't drill the hole through the hot enough rock? What's the problem?"

Der Leiermann
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Re: New technology - that could solve our energy problem?!

Post by Der Leiermann »

Sounds like you’re talking about geothermal energy. The main issue seem to be drilling costs:

Burning hydrocarbons is still more cost effective, I suppose.

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Re: New technology - that could solve our energy problem?!

Post by basuragomi »

The problem is that geothermal COP is relatively low making operating and capital costs prohibitive. Most places people live are on top of thick cratons with low geothermal gradients, so capital costs are increased as more units at greater depth are required. Geothermal working fluids are low temperature and cannot operate as efficiently as fossil fuel fired plants, so operating costs are increased as more fluid must be pumped. There is also the issue of sometimes generating or requiring brines with heavy metal leaching which must be disposed of. Probably shouldn't have 30,000 tonnes of arsenic trioxide sitting around the neighbourhood power station in barrels.

Drilling deeper will make geothermal possible in more areas, but it will be even less economically viable to both build and operate than the equivalent capacity fossil fuel plant. There is a reason existing geothermal stations are located where they are.

ETA: Drilling cost reductions are a good thing that will enable more geothermal energy to be used. They will not alone be the thing that makes geothermal ubiquitous. Also this guy doesn't understand mantle geology, which is generally solid all the way down to the outer core.

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Re: New technology - that could solve our energy problem?!

Post by frihet »

Yes, they are talking about geothermal energy, and yes drilling cost is the problem at the moment. It is talked about in the interview. But Robert Friedland is confident that the technology of the billion-dollar company he is backing will solve this problem. They have already commercialized it in several different ways. Robert's fortune has been made in mining so I bet he knows the ins and outs of drilling through rock.

"Robert: We have a Private American unicorn called I-Pulse, which has commercialized non-military applications of ultra high energy pulse electrical power, technologies that heretofore were used only for strategic weaponry, electromagnetic pulse weaponry, and other military applications."

"And we'd have to use a completely different physical principle, to drill large diameter holes in hot rock, we're quite confident that this is achievable with the current state of human technological development, within a period of say, five, or a maximum of 10 years. We know how to do it, we're heading in that direction. And we're also seeking and are likely to receive support from one or more governments to achieve that end."

This 3min video gives a good idea of what this is about.

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Re: New technology - that could solve our energy problem?!

Post by iopsi »

Those are all welcome developments but technologically speaking the energy problem is already solved.

Solar and Wind are already the cheapest sources of electricity pretty much.

And they are only getting better & cheaper.

At this point it's just a matter of time (like 2 to 4 decades) before the world will mostly be powered by renewables.

white belt
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Re: New technology - that could solve our energy problem?!

Post by white belt »

We’ve talked about techno optimism in multiple previous threads; climate change is not just a technological problem, it’s also a cultural and political problem. There are technical solutions that are feasible to address particular issues related to climate change. The bigger question is if society can implement these solutions in a timely manner, seeing as we’re already about 30 years late on addressing climate change. As Jacob has said before, humans typically don’t do very well with implementing solutions in a forward thinking manner, but rather the default is to wait until things are too late.

Even eliminating fossil fuels for energy use doesn’t address the fact that we still use Haber Bosch to make fertilizer to feed the global population. If the global population keeps growing as it has, we will quickly find ourselves in the same situation. Every advance in energy has led to population booms and then busts because we way overshoot the earth’s carrying capacity.

Lucky C
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Re: New technology - that could solve our energy problem?!

Post by Lucky C »

I got a geothermal system quote and the drilling cost was not that bad. The sticker shock came from the added costs of replacing the oil system with the new hardware, changes that would be required to ductwork etc., electrical panel upgrade since they use more electricity to pump the fluid than to run an oil furnace, and the expected higher ongoing electrical costs to run the system. And of course this added electricity would mostly be provided by converting fossil fuels to electricity to convert the electricity to heat - a lot of losses vs. getting close to 90% of the heat from the fossil fuel at the location of ignition. Geothermal would still use fewer fossil fuels over the long run, but the payback period would be approximately never.

Instead I just focused on improving efficiency of the home to use much less fuel. If you have a small house that's efficient even the smallest geothermal systems are oversized! Instead they would be better for large buildings or groups of buildings. For a small efficient home you can get an air source heat pump system which is less efficient than geothermal but costs several times less, to get you a reasonable payback period.

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Re: New technology - that could solve our energy problem?!

Post by frihet »

Thanks every body for your input.

It is my understanding that with wind and solar we would still need base load and that is where a technology like this would come in handy.

I checked the macrovoices twitter feed and found some interesting articles.

Iceland is of course, being a country between two tectonic plates, on it. They don’t need to drill so deep or wait for this new fancy drilling tool to be invented. This most be possible on the US west coast..... ... ssion=true

“In 2009, the IDDP was drilling a conventional geothermal well and accidentally struck upon a magma reservoir 1.2 miles below the surface. When they poured water into it, they were able to draw out superheated steam at temperatures higher than 400 degrees Celsius — an extremely potent source of energy. So now they’re trying to see if they can replicate the concept.”

Apparently earth quakes is a risk factor as they found out in Switzerland when they injected the water. ... ssion=true

Also this impulse-current technology have other groundbreaking uses like new ways to manufacture. And it is already being commercialized. I have never heard of it before for example.

“Magnetic Pulse Welding (MPW) uses electromagnetically generated forces to create a solid-state cold weld at room temperature. This weld is completed in microseconds and is stronger than the base metals joined. No heat, filler materials or gases are required.”

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