Pumping Water Into Volcano to Make Power

Posted on Jan 15 2012 - 2:58pm by admin
Pumping Water Into Volcano to Make Power

Pumping Water Into Volcano

Another step towards Green Energy, Geothermal energy developers demonstrating new technology and had plan to pump 24 million gallons of water into the side of a inactive volcano (Newberry Volcano, located about 20 miles south of Bend, Oregon) in central Oregon State this summer.

In this procedure water comes back to the surface fast enough and hot enough to generate economical electricity without depending on sun or wind, if it ever really went away.

Geothermal energy can be defined as “efforts to use the earths heat to create power”, but have some technical problems and doubts whether it can cause earthquakes. Now Engineers are working on a new technology called Enhanced Geothermal Systems

Even so the AltaRock Energy of Seattle and Davenport Newberry holdings of Stamford, Connecticut are backed by the US department of energy, Google and other investors are interested enough to bet $43million on the Oregon project.

President of AltaRock Susan Petty said “the big issue is can we circulate enough water through the system to make it economic.” He added “We know the heat is there,”

Hydroshearing is a process in which Wells are drilled deep into the rock and water is pumped in, creating tiny fractures in the rock and than Cold water is pumped down production wells into the reservoir, and the steam is drawn out to create electricity. Cracking rock deep underground through hydroshearing can also lead to damaging quakes.

The danger of a major quake at Newberry is very low. The area is a kind of seismic dead zone, with no significant faults. It is far enough from population centers to make property damage unlikely. And the layers of volcanic ash built up over millennia dampen any shaking. Said Ernie Majer, a seismologist with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management released an environmental assessment of the Newberry project last month that does not foresee any problems that would stop it. The agency is taking public comments before making a final decision in coming months.

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