MSNBC: Energy from hot rocks abounds

MSNBC.com has covered the geothermal energy research of SMU Hamilton Professor of Geophysics David Blackwell, Maria Richards and the SMU Geothermal Laboratory.

Blackwell and Richards, the Geothermal Lab coordinator, released a new map earlier this week that documents significant geothermal resources across the United States capable of producing more than three million megawatts of green power — 10 times the installed capacity of coal power plants today.

Funded with a grant from Google.org, sophisticated mapping produced from the research demonstrates that vast reserves of this green, renewable source of power generated from the Earth’s heat are realistically accessible using current technology.

The results of the new research confirm and refine locations for resources capable of supporting large-scale commercial geothermal energy production under a wide range of geologic conditions, including significant areas in the eastern two-thirds of the United States.

Read MSNBC’s full story.

EXCERPT:

By John Roach
Clean, accessible, reliable and renewable energy equivalent to 10 times the installed capacity of coal power plants in the U.S. is available from the hot rocks under our feet, according to the results of a new mapping study.

The energy, called geothermal, is generated from heat found deep below the Earth’s surface. While there’s some geothermal developed in the western U.S., it was previously thought lacking in the eastern portion of the country.

Now, researchers at Southern Methodist University, with funding from Google.org, have compiled geological data from 35,000 sites across the U.S. and found that there’s massive potential all across the country, including significant portions of the eastern two-thirds of the U.S.

What’s more, the energy can be tapped with existing technology, according to the researchers. That’s largely due the recent development of drilling techniques that make methods such as enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) possible.

In EGS, a well is drilled several miles into the Earth’s crust, water is injected down that well to fracture hot rocks, creating thousands of small pathways for the water to flow and be heated. This hot water and steam is then piped to the surface, where it powers a turbine to generate electricity.

Read the full story.

SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls nearly 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools. For more information see www.smu.edu.

SMU has an uplink facility located on campus for live TV, radio, or online interviews. To speak with an SMU expert or book an SMU guest in the studio, call SMU News & Communications at 214-768-7650.

This entry was posted in Earth & Climate, Energy & Matter, Researcher news, SMU In The News and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

About Margaret Allen

EA-PubAffairs(Periodicals)