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Geothermal Power Advances

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the hot-rocks-level-up dept.

Power 168

An anonymous reader writes "A group of geothermal power engineers have created three reservoirs from a single well in a place where none existed previously. This is a breakthrough for Enhanced Geothermal System technology — people who need power often can't choose a spot where there happens to be a geothermal reservoir, and EGS could allow us to create them where needed. 'Last fall, engineers pumped cold water into the ground, cracking open fissures in the deep rock, a process known as hydroshearing. They then sealed one reservoir from the other using a new technology. They injected ground-up recycled plastic bottles, which plugged up the cracks in one reservoir while millions of gallons of cold water were being pumped in to create another. Then the plastic diffused, leaving behind three reservoirs. ... The U.S. Department of Energy, which is covering half the $43.8 million cost of the Newberry project, says if the initial indications hold up, the Newberry project would mark the first time in the world that multiple geothermal reservoirs have been created on purpose from a single well in a new area.'"

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Gay sex (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572211)

Taco, I would rather talk about gay sex.

-kdawason [sic]

Re:Gay sex (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572517)

http://www.trollaxor.com/2005/08/why-slashdot-fired-michael.html [trollaxor.com]

  Why Slashdot Fired Michael

January 31st, 2005, was the last day that Michael Sims, Nazi editor of Slashdot, ever posted a story or indeed was ever heard from again. But what happened that day to Michael Sims? Did his embroilment in the Censorware.org conspiracy finally catch up with him? Or was he involved in a violent, and ultimately fatal, lovers' spat with his partner Jamie McCarthy? The truth, as we'll see, is much more perverse than fiction.

On New Year's Eve of 2004, the entire Slashdot staff was throwing a party to celebrate another year of Linux propaganda, homosexual recruitment, and the profits that their Microsoft ad banners had raked in for them. Eric Raymond, Emad, Roblimo, Hemos, Taco, Jamie, and Alan Cox all planned to rape Richard Stallman later in the night. Michael had shown up late, however, and was let in on the plans after they were made.

As it turned out, Jamie was to be leading the charge against the Free Software Foundation's founder and would be the first to penetrate Stallman's hairy unwashed ass. Michael, however, was jealous of this and made secret plans to thwart their nefarious venture of homosexual rape. The event was planned for zero hours, right as the ball dropped. But Michael had other ideas.

Michael suggested they all toast their plan with JÃgermeister, Eric Raymond's drink of choice that was in heavy supply that night, and the rest of the partygoers followed. While everyone downed their first shot, Michael slipped into the VA Software office's break-room, grabbing the syringe Raymond used to inject Rob Malda's semen with on the way. Michael leered at the case of JÃgermeister, needle in hand.

Minutes later, Michael reappeared in the conference room with more JÃger, ready for more shots. Over the next couple of hours they indulged in several drinking and party games, spurred on by Michael, as they drank bottle after bottle of the dark brown herbal liqueur. If one were to pay special attention to Michael, however, they would note that Michael drank much less than anyone else and only from his own bottle.

Emad and Roblimo were involved in a powerful sixty-nine cheered on by Hemos and Alan whose bent geek penises throbbed near Emad's head and Roblimo's bloated ass, waiting for an opportunity. Moaning, Emad diverted his wet mouth from Roblimo's butthole and took down Hemos and Alan's cocks in quick succession. Hearing the wet, sloppy commotion behind him, Roblimo lost control and glunked all over Emad's chest.

Across the room near the podium, Eric Raymond was man-handling Rob, jamming a handgun down the back of his pants and asking him if he remembered their special night in Holland. Rob was giggling like a school girl and squirmed with all his might against the cold steel. Eric rained a shower of JÃger over Rob's head which Rob greedily tongued up even as Eric's skinny red penis entered his ass cheeks, probing for the brown prize.

The conference room was awash in gay cum and chaos, Michael noted happily as he surveyed the carnage around him. Emad had now teamed up with Alan and Hemos to rape Roblimo's ass as Rob was being pistol-whipped to orgasm by Eric, all oblivious to the massive amounts of Rohypnol they were ingesting as they drank the JÃgermeister Michael had given them. It wouldn't be much longer before the drug took effect.

Another half-hour into the night, Eric paused from raping Taco's mouth and sodomizing his anus with his Glock, short of breath. His head swam and he looked at his bottle of JÃgermeister. I can usually down six of these babies, thought Eric, wondering why he was now farting uncontrollably. Rob's nose wrinkled as Eric's rectum expelled another gallon of aerosolized feces into the air. Stooping, Eric held on to the podium for support.

Across the way, Emad pulled his tiny Iranian dick out from between Alan and Hemos's in Roblimo's ass and doubled over. Alan and Hemos continued pounding Roblimo's purple, swollen anus even as Emad began vomiting all over their cocks, thinking it a move on Emad's part to spice things up. Roblimo passed out again for the fourth time that night, but as Hemos slapped him, he failed to wake up.

With Emad vomiting even more violently now, Hemos wondered what was going on. He held a hand to his head as he began forgetting why he was balls-deep in some old man's ass. Alan began hiccuping, which led to uneven strokes and finally a quick orgasm which was quickly washed away by more of Emad's vomit. Nausea rose in Alan's throat as the scents of semen, man-ass, sweat, and vomit overcame him.

Michael was smiling from the corner chair at the table when the telecom beeped. He quickly left the conference room and headed toward the VA Software compound's front doors to let RMS in. As he rounded the last corner, however, Michael almost dropped his bottle of untainted JÃger when he saw that Stallman was not alone. Standing next to him was the CEO of VA Software, Larry Augustin.

His mind racing a thousand miles a minute, Michael feigned a security malfunction when he tried to open the door, leaving Stallman and Augustin stranded outside in the cold. Waving Michael off, Larry Augustin was about to get a slim-jim when he stopped, staring, right behind Michael. There, crawling on the ground, was Rob Malda in his familiar green-and-white plaid shirt, covered in chunks of semen, blood, and feces.

Rob Malda looked up at Augustin and feebly reached out to him before vomiting on the cold tile floor and passing out with a squish in his own sick. Larry and Richard's faces were masks of horror and disgust, and they wasted no time in forcing open the doors. Larry disabled the alarms while Richard checked Rob's pulse. As Richard loosened Rob's collar, Larry turned to Michae, glaring, and shouted, "What the Hell happened here tonight?"

The conference room was a mess. Feces covered the wall and in some places even the ceiling. The carpet was soaked with blood, semen, diarrhea, and vomit in a stew so unimaginable that the room was later bulldozed instead of being professionally cleaned. On the dry erase board, someone had gotten creative and drawn erect, ejaculating penises in their own feces. And behind the podium lay Eric Raymond, sleeping fitfully.

At the other end of the room, Emad was curled into fetal position surrounded by a lake of vomit and curdling shit, both trailing from his soiled form â" nothing new to him. Hemos and Alan laid moaning next to one another, limp dicks in one another's slimy hands. Behind them Roblimo's morose form breathed shallowly, ass in the air where he had passed out earlier. He farted in his sleep as Larry Augustin looked on, mouth agape.

Next week, Larry Augustin held a special meeting with the Slashdot staff. Emad, Jamie, Roblimo, Rob, and Hemos all seated themselves and the meeting began. Eric Raymond also showed, though everyone there seemed a little perplexed. Their party had gotten messy but no one remembered how. Eric wanted especially hard to remember, he thought as he patted his stomach, which still gurgled painfully.

Early in the wee hours of January 1st, 2005, Larry watched as sickened paramedics loaded VA employee after VA employee into the backs of ambulances and raced them to the hospital. They were treated for dehydration and were all given stomach pumps, enemas, and several rounds of antibiotics. They were also tested for drugs and the results were more than a little surprising. Michael, however, had been the only one to test negative.

Hour after hour went by in the VA board-room as each one of the partygoer related their experience. Roblimo, now wheelchair-bound, took the mic and shared his experience that mirrored everyone else's: After his first few toasts of JÃgermeister, he remembered nothing save waking up a day later in the hospital, tubes and wires trailing from his bruised body. Roblimo was suffering from a rectal prolapse.

It was decided by a unanimous vote that Michael Sims was to be fired with due haste, as he had drugged the entire Slashdot staff in an attempt to rape them. Unfortunately, due haste took about three-and-a-half weeks so the shareholders could approve the move. Their reaction to the story removed any doubt about Michael's fate and the motion was carried unanimously. Michael was terminated January 31st, 2005.

So now you know why Michael Sims hasn't posted any new stories to Slashdot since January. Let it be a warning to you, gentle reader, of what evil lurks in the hearts of psychotic Linux zealots and Nazi propagandists. Since then the boys at Slashdot have been able to laugh it off, but consider their depraved anus-games. You might not be so lucky were Michael Sims to happen to you. You have been warned.
Labels: Alan Cox, Emad, Jamie McCarthy, Michael Sims, Richard M. Stallman, Rob Malda, slash, Slashdot

1 divided by 3 (-1, Redundant)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572583)

Creating three reservoir out of one well will mean one thing - each reservoir will have less than one third the potential power of that one well.

A lot of heat is lost deep inside.

Re:1 divided by 3 (0)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572893)

A lot of heat is lost deep inside.

Well yes, that's an astute observation about an invitation to gay sex, but shouldn't you be bringing this thread back on topic?

Re:1 divided by 3 (5, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42573149)

Creating three reservoir out of one well will mean one thing - each reservoir will have less than one third the potential power of that one well.

Damn, if only you'd been around to tell the scientists this before they wasted their time.

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest it's actually a lot more complicated and non-linear than that, that these guys know what they're doing, and the article just doesn't go into quite enough detail.

This is NOT Fracking... (3, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572247)

No Sir, anything but. Not fracking at all. Fracking is only done by the evil gas companies...

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (5, Informative)

chill (34294) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572305)

The biggest objection to fracking is the unknown chemicals pumped into the ground, potentially contaminating the groundwater. These people pumped water down, not chemicals. There is no danger of contamination.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (3, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572365)

The biggest objection to fracking is the unknown chemicals pumped into the ground, potentially contaminating the groundwater. These people pumped water down, not chemicals. There is no danger of contamination.

"They injected ground-up recycled plastic bottles, which plugged up the cracks in one reservoir while millions of gallons of cold water were being pumped in to create another."


No danger, huh?

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (4, Insightful)

chill (34294) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572441)

Inert plastic? The same stuff they make carpet, park benches, and food containers out of?

The same stuff they ship bottled water in?

Reported, regulated, testable plastic. Not trademarked, trade secret potential toxins.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572551)

Inert plastic? The same stuff they make carpet, park benches, and food containers out of? The same stuff they ship bottled water in? Reported, regulated, testable plastic. Not trademarked, trade secret potential toxins.

Yes, that same stuff... the same stuff that has been shown to leach [about.com] into [npr.org] the [trusted.md] water [plasticsinfo.org] you drink! Known, quantifiable toxins!

Still not something I want getting INTO my drinking water, which "ground-up" certainly makes it sound possible that this stuff could filter into aquifers... after all, where does it GO when it leaves the geothermal reservoir it is used to create?

The whole thing seems suspicious, almost like there are vested interests that are going out of their way to justify the sullying of water supplies for the sake of power generation; only this sounds like a sort of greenwashing compared to tracking!

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (4, Informative)

riverat1 (1048260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572861)

That is a dry area not near anyone's drinking water aquifer. They drilled into solid basalt and used cold water to crack it. I'm not even sure there's any avenue for the plastic to escape. The water they use will come from the Deschutes River (which is miles away from the drill site) and will be recycled in a closed cycle. Nobody lives close to the drill site and not many people live within 30 miles of it. The nearest city of any size is Bend, OR, 40 or 50 miles northwest on the other side of Mt. Newberry. As an Oregonian whose spent time in that area I'm not that concerned about it and it's worth the experiment to see how it works.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (3)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42573941)

That is a dry area not near anyone's drinking water aquifer. They drilled into solid basalt and used cold water to crack it. I'm not even sure there's any avenue for the plastic to escape. The water they use will come from the Deschutes River (which is miles away from the drill site) and will be recycled in a closed cycle. Nobody

That's what they always say. But as it turns out, they don't KNOW what the pattern of cracks looks like underground. Resonance imaging can only tell you so much. They do not and can not know that the cracks they open will not meet some other cracks that will result in a leak into an aquifer.

As an Oregonian whose spent time in that area I'm not that concerned about it and it's worth the experiment to see how it works.

So since you don't live there and don't care about it we should just shit it up willfully? That's a shitty argument, and frankly, it's the kind of argument that contributes to the harm to the biosphere upon which we all depend.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42574117)

That is a dry area not near anyone's drinking water aquifer. They drilled into solid basalt and used cold water to crack it. I'm not even sure there's any avenue for the plastic to escape. The water they use will come from the Deschutes River (which is miles away from the drill site) and will be recycled in a closed cycle. Nobody

That's what they always say. But as it turns out, they don't KNOW what the pattern of cracks looks like underground. Resonance imaging can only tell you so much. They do not and can not know that the cracks they open will not meet some other cracks that will result in a leak into an aquifer.

As an Oregonian whose spent time in that area I'm not that concerned about it and it's worth the experiment to see how it works.

So since you don't live there and don't care about it we should just shit it up willfully? That's a shitty argument, and frankly, it's the kind of argument that contributes to the harm to the biosphere upon which we all depend.

If people listen to you, and stop trying to make geothermal a viable way of getting energy, then we can continue to use coal and oil. Does that sound better?

Telling us the risk of geothermal research is not zero is not helpful. Everything has some risk, including every source of energy. Unless you hace a realistic plan to stop all energy use, stop complaining and tell us where you think we should get energy.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (1)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42574061)

Some communities in eastern Oregon obtain water from interbeds between the basalt layers, that would be about the only way fracking could pose a risk, but as you said the Newberry Volcano is a long ways away from any sizable population. La Pine is a small town west of the mountain which is a bit closer than Bend but they get their water from shallow aquifers.

I'm certain the people doing this work are taking extra pains to insure they have good casing etc., wanting to avoid even the slightest possibility of public outcry over the drilling, hence their relabeling hydrofracking as "hydroshearing."

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (4, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572579)

Inert plastic? The same stuff they make carpet, park benches, and food containers out of?

The same stuff they ship bottled water in?

Reported, regulated, testable plastic. Not trademarked, trade secret potential toxins.

That's the stuff. It's perfectly fine unless it happens to get hot somehow.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (1)

LongearedBat (1665481) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572649)

Good thing they're only pumping in cold water into those wells...

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572737)

Those geothermal wells.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (1)

Flentil (765056) | about a year and a half ago | (#42573335)

Plastic bottles contain the chemical BPA that we were recently warned about. Here's an article that claims the previous claims are false. Make of it what you will. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130102140526.htm [sciencedaily.com]

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (1)

Instine (963303) | about a year and a half ago | (#42573775)

At what pressure do you think those safety tests are carried out?

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42573935)

Inert plastic? The same stuff they make carpet, park benches, and food containers out of?

The plastics industry called, and they said they would be highly interested in this "inert plastic". Apparently, they have never heard of it, but they'd sure like some to correct the fact that all plastic bottles leach chemicals into their contents. There is no such thing as inert plastic.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (1)

Khashishi (775369) | about a year and a half ago | (#42573241)

at least that's a known chemical

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (1)

distilate (1037896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572377)

The biggest objection to fracking is the unknown chemicals pumped into the ground, potentially contaminating the groundwater. These people pumped water down, not chemicals. There is no danger of contamination.

So ground up recycled plastic bottles is not chemicals?
I guess at least we know what they are.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (2)

chill (34294) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572415)

Oh, please. If you want to play that game then water is a chemical, too. Everything is chemicals.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (4, Funny)

filthpickle (1199927) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572473)

It's a witch!

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (1)

chill (34294) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572481)

Commence with the test. See if it burns.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572407)

The biggest objection to fracking is the unknown chemicals pumped into the ground, potentially contaminating the groundwater.

Well, no. I mean, yes, but no. See, by definition fracking involves opening up more fissures. There's plenty of potential for groundwater contamination even if you're not using mystery sludge, which I suspect is just toxic waste that they couldn't figure out how to dispose of. There's danger of contamination, just not with fracking fluids.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (2)

chill (34294) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572477)

Well, with tracking we are usually talking at a significant depth, well below the water table. The contamination comes from running the well thru the water table and down. Not really from the fracturing itself.

There may be isolated cases of just the fracture causing contamination, but I haven't seen any. I doubt the number of cases runs to a statistically significant number, especially when compared to something like, say, regular oil well drilling.

In all honesty I'd be more concerned with morons dumping used motor oil in their back yard.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572523)

There may be isolated cases of just the fracture causing contamination, but I haven't seen any. I doubt the number of cases runs to a statistically significant number, especially when compared to something like, say, regular oil well drilling.

Stabbing: better than being shot! Hooray! Stab me twice.

In all honesty I'd be more concerned with morons dumping used motor oil in their back yard.

You shouldn't worry about that unless a river runs through it(tm). Oyster mushrooms break down oil. Now, worry about them dumping used synthetic motor oil, which takes literally an order of magnitude longer to break down in the environment.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (2)

riverat1 (1048260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572873)

It's a dry well. There really is no ground water to contaminate in that area, certainly no wells or surface sources that humans depend on for drinking water. The closest human dwelling is probably at least 10 miles away.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (5, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572521)

The idea that the chemicals are unknown is horse poop.

Here's a list: http://fracfocus.org/chemical-use/what-chemicals-are-used [fracfocus.org]

The companies involved just don't tell Greenpeace etc. what the chemicals are, and apparently Greenpeace etc. would prefer to make a big political stink out of it rather than fund a GC-MS lab to run the analysis and find out that it's actually stuff like polysaccharides sand and which will destroy their talking points, which of course opens the question why are they making such a stupid lot of fuss about the whole thing?

But you can bet they know.

The regulatory agencies for sure know what the chemicals are - sometimes they aren't allowed to tell others because the states protect the trade secrets involved. But not always.

A lot of the stuff is disclosed on sites like this: http://fracfocus.org/ [fracfocus.org] - several states now require drillers upload the chemical compositions to this site as part of their permitting process. Texas for example.

http://03646f4.netsolhost.com/?p=218 [netsolhost.com]

Also of course if you patent something you have to disclose or the patent isn't valid. So that's always an interesting source of info as well.

These fluids are pretty boring actually. Viscosifier, proppant, and corrosion inhibitor. In fact if you do a Google search you'll come up with articles on which ones to use.

Last time I posted this info on slashdot I was modded down to Troll in less than 30 seconds. I wonder how long it will take today?

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (4, Interesting)

_Ludwig (86077) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572765)

Boring?! Long chemical names don’t inherently scare me (Calcium carbonate, sodium chloride, oh my!) but a lot of the shit on that list is pretty heinous. It’s telling that even a greenwashing industry shill site like Fracfocus can’t make their practices sound responsible.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42573245)

Many of those actually are pretty dull, but the sites itself admits that it only lists "a limited number" of the more common ones. It's also incredibly vague about some items."Phosphonic acid salt". Err, Phosphonic acid is a specific chemical group, what the heck is there rest of the molecule and is it dangerous? It's probably one of the commercial scale inhibitor compounds but for a website that is meant to be informative it leaves a lot of blanks to fill in.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42573125)

The biggest objection to fracking is the unknown chemicals pumped into the ground, potentially contaminating the groundwater. These people pumped water down, not chemicals. There is no danger of contamination.

1. There have been multiple other claims, such as seismic disruptions and more.
2. Water IS a chemical
3. In all cases of groundwater contamination, when it's been shown that the fracking compounds have not contaminated anything, the claim is that the process of fracking has allowed other contaminants to enter the groundwater. Sometimes from old wells, sometimes from other sources.

Oh, but that plastic is recycled! If this was an oil company they'd call it "waste material" instead, because that sounds nasty and evil. It's called a double standard.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42573165)

Well one thing that somewhat frightens me about pumping cold water into a geothermally active zone: Water lowers the melting point of rock.

What if there's a magma intrusion near where they put a well, and suddenly, thanks to a reduced melting point, the previous intrusion that was staying put was able to melt through a now weakened point in the rock and create a lovely eruption?

We're talking about a subduction zone over continental crust, which means felsic magma, which means exploding violent eruptions of magma.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (2)

approachingZero (1365381) | about a year and a half ago | (#42573703)

With all due respect you are wrong. The argument against fracking has nothing to do with the potential contamination of ground water - it is simply the latest crusade of the environmental terror industry in their endless campaign to raise money. Normally you have a problem and then people come together to work towards a solution to deal with the problem, such as the Tea Party organically coming into existence as a result of the over-reach of government. There is no epidemic of ground water contamination due to 'fracking', there is an epidemic of scaremongering on the part of fund raising environmental groups. Mark my words, if geothermal begins to look like a fat money basket by these same groups that target 'fracking' for fund raising you will soon see a tidal wave of scary literature condemning the threat of big geotherm.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (1)

mpe (36238) | about a year and a half ago | (#42574067)

The biggest objection to fracking is the unknown chemicals pumped into the ground, potentially contaminating the groundwater.

I'm sure they are not "unknown" to the people pumping them in.

These people pumped water down, not chemicals. There is no danger of contamination.

Water is a "chemical" it's also a very effective solvent which can disolve all sorts of things from the rocks it is passing through. Even utterly pure water containing only stable isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen.
A contamination risk comes at least as much from what may come out as from what's going in.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (4, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572311)

No Sir, anything but. Not fracking at all. Fracking is only done by the evil gas companies...

Fracking is considered "evil" for two reasons:
  1) The chemical brew mixed with the water.
  2) Gas leaking into groundwater.

Neither of these apply to geothermal fracturing. Most of the chemical additives are to help free the gas from the rock. There is no reason to add them to water used for geothermal fracturing. There is no gas leaking into groundwater either, because there is no gas.

Geothermal fracturing can also cause minor earthquakes, but I think that concern is overblown. I live on a faultline in California, and we get tremors every few months. They are not dangerous to someone in a normal wood frame house, and you just learn to live with them.
 

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572331)

What awesome hypocrisy

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572335)

What about the earthquakes? Cracking the earth isn't a good idea.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (4, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572363)

What about the earthquakes? Cracking the earth isn't a good idea.

Spewing billions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere isn't a good idea either. Geothermal energy has an enourmous potential to reduce those emissions. If the price is a some minor tremors in remote locations, it is worth it.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572433)

Geothermal energy has an enourmous potential to reduce those emissions. If the price is a some minor tremors in remote locations, it is worth it.

Well, time to sacrifice some karma on the truth once again. The poster child for geothermal power in the USA is Calpine at The Geysers, near Calistoga CA. Near, in fact, old faithful, which is old but not particularly faithful. It is neither as regular nor as potent as it used to be.

Neither are the vents at The Geysers, which is why they started injecting primary-treated sewage water (reports on how well-treated it is vary) into the ground in order to rebuild steam. This did have the desired effect, but it also had others, primarily increased seismicity. Indeed, many dollars have been paid out to people whose homes have been damaged by it. They are, you see, more than minor tremors on occasion. This is of course a minor location, so that part of the recipe is true enough anyhow.

On top of that, however, there's the fact that the plant has been perpetually under production and over budget since its creation, in spite of the shit-pumping. So basically, you want to spend a lot of money to build mediocre power plants that have greater ecological impact than you think and which will never produce the amount of power they promise. None of this is a law of thermodynamics or anything, but look at the country we're talking about. This ain't Germany, we're talking about the USA. We could do it right, we have all the skills and all the materials, but we won't, because that's not how we do things. We do things in the way that produces that maximum amount of pork. That's why PG&E is blowing up gas lines in residential areas in California, it's not because they couldn't afford to fix them or didn't know they needed to be fixed but because someone could get a third yacht if they didn't fix them.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (3, Informative)

Seraphim1982 (813899) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572703)

Well, time to sacrifice some karma on the truth once again. The poster child for geothermal power in the USA is Calpine at The Geysers, near Calistoga CA. Near, in fact, old faithful, which is old but not particularly faithful. It is neither as regular nor as potent as it used to be.

Old Faithful is in Wyoming, which is two states (Utah and Nevada) away from California.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42573305)

There actually is in fact a tiny little geyser near Calistoga, CA which is (in total tourist trap fashion) also named "Old Faithful". [oldfaithfulgeyser.com]

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (1)

_Ludwig (86077) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572777)

I’d mod you up Informative except I’ve already commented. I get text alerts from the USGS for earthquake activity above a certain threshold in the area, and at least half of them are from the vicinity of The Geysers.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (3, Informative)

riverat1 (1048260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572913)

The Geysers is an entirely different kind of geothermal development. It uses water already in the ground. This new development on Mount Newberry is into dry basalt and all the water they use will be from surface sources and it will be run in a closed loop cycle so none is released.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572507)

Geothermal energy has an enourmous potential to reduce those emissions. If the price is a some minor tremors in remote locations, it is worth it.

If it were only that simple. Besides creating tremors, harvesting geothermal energy also hastens the cooling of the Earth's mantle. Once that's done, say goodbye to the magnetosphere, and shortly thereafter, the entire atmosphere and all life on Earth.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (1)

jamesh (87723) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572589)

Geothermal energy has an enourmous potential to reduce those emissions. If the price is a some minor tremors in remote locations, it is worth it.

If it were only that simple. Besides creating tremors, harvesting geothermal energy also hastens the cooling of the Earth's mantle. Once that's done, say goodbye to the magnetosphere, and shortly thereafter, the entire atmosphere and all life on Earth.

I thought of that too. Does anyone have any numbers on how many million years we can suck heat out of the ground before it becomes a problem?

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572695)

Until the someone does it on a really big scale (or Murphy's law takes over and we get an anomaly in what to expect) and we get earth's version of Valles Marineris. Then were like Mars, fucked, cold, and depleted of planetary core heat.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572795)

Yeah, I'm pretty sure the Mantle is full of far more heat than we could deplete before the world ends for some other reason sooner. I'll take the possibility of very distant progeny potentially losing the magnetosphere to the possibility of Global-warming related climate change in my lifetime. The alternative is just to turn everything off and start living outside again.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572931)

The amount of energy we can suck of out the well is so miniscule compared to the amount of heat in the mantle I'd be surprised if it had any effect. At best we might be able to delay a volcanic eruption. The wells don't go anywhere near the mantle, just a bit closer to the magma chamber under Mount Newberry.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572367)

The Earth cracks itself daily... been doing it for billions of years - still here...
It also heals itself over time by sublimation, re-melting the plates and pushing up new... so all's well :)

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572457)

And for #1, it doesn't help that the mixture of chemicals is kept secret, and its safety hasn't been rigorously studied. I would be willing to consider fracking in principle, if there were some actual vetting of what is being pumped down there and what its effects are.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572529)

I suspect if the companies released the chemicals used in fracking, you wouldn't be willing to consider fracking any more.
Is there any reason not to release public info on chemicals used other than ecological objections?

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572543)

The official reason is that they're trade secrets they don't want their competitors to copy.

A more plausible charitable interpretation is that the companies have actually vetted the chemicals internally and are sure they're safe (at least as used), but the companies are worried about the expenses of lawsuits, i.e. they'd prevail in the end, but only after a bunch of regulatory hassle and legal fees.

The uncharitable interpretation is that either the chemicals aren't safe, or nobody really knows because the companies haven't really done any rigorous research to find out.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42573955)

Many of the chemicals they admit to using are known to be harmful, and they're not giving us a full list. So we know for sure that the latter case is, in fact, the case.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (0)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42573723)

Fracking is considered evil for one reason, it is used to get more oil and gas out of the ground, thus helping to prevent the Malthusian demise that so many are relying on to centralize power in the hands of the elites.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (1)

verifine (685231) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572357)

Ah, fracking by any other name.

Methinks there is more than a bit of hypocrisy floating around in the story. It's no good unless you do it for "eco" reasons?

Had an interesting conversation with a (Conservative) friend who's bought into several wells. He says when you drill a well using old technology you get about 30% of the oil in the field. It dries up, and we used to abandon those mines. Now you can drill down and from a 7" casing you can drill horizontally and fracture the strata using up to 100,000 PSI pressure. Of course, this is happening about a mile below any possible drinking water and there will be no contamination. With the well suitably "fracked" another 30% of the oil (and gas) is now recoverable. Whoa, you just doubled the usefulness of the well. But you're right, that's evil, it's not acceptable to certain opinionated individuals.

But geothermal, well, no evil oil involved here, nothing to see, move along.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (1)

invient (1905274) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572585)

If it is safe for water and air, why would the industry fight so hard to retain waivers for specific parts of the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act... Why unburden themselves with regulations that apparently would have no effect on their operation...

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572635)

Fracking is an issue for a number of reasons. The mud pumped in can be toxic, and though below the water table, must pass through the water table. Plus, getting more oil out is bad. If we want to lower CO2 production, we need to stop using fossil fuels. Anything that leaves more carbon in the ground is a good thing.

Plus, when you ask a well owner, I'm sure he believed he's not evil. The evil ones always always justify it. "it's for the greater good" and all that.

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572389)

FUCK YEAH!

Re:This is NOT Fracking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572463)

Apparently fracking uses chemicals and sand to dissolve whatever is down there to make much larger fractures and keep them open for longer distances in a larger area. But I don't know how different it is in practice.

Isn't this slightly evil to? (1)

aliquis (678370) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572653)

At least you pump heat from below the ground to the surface faster than normally?

Maybe it doesn't matter much.

Also there's no risk the plastic reach water you want to drink or go up to the surface and spread plastic around?

I know the US doesn't care much about spreading plastic around but it still isn't good.

Re:Isn't this slightly evil to? (2)

riverat1 (1048260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572955)

There really is almost no risk this will contaminate anyone's drinking water. No one lives near the well and it's a sparsely populated area in general. The well they are drilling is over 6,000 feet deep in to dry rock. The water they inject will be used in a closed cycle so it's not released to contaminate surface waters.

Re:Isn't this slightly evil to? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42573155)

There really is almost no risk this will contaminate anyone's drinking water. No one lives near the well and it's a sparsely populated area in general. The well they are drilling is over 6,000 feet deep in to dry rock. The water they inject will be used in a closed cycle so it's not released to contaminate surface waters.

The point we're making is that everything you (and others) are saying is the exact same type of thing the oil companies said about fracking. But since the hydrocarbon waste material we're pumping down and spreading around is described as "Recycled" and "Dissipated", and because it's for a "clean" type of energy, the apologists are out in force.

It's just amusing watching the exact same people who bitch about fracking saying "Trust us, nobody will get hurt".

Re:Isn't this slightly evil to? (0)

riverat1 (1048260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42573247)

It's not my problem if you are unable to perceive the difference between the two practices.

What could possibly go wrong (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572249)

The libs will want to institute more government regulations over theoretical earthquake risks and so forth, interfering with the efforts of businessmen to create wealth and jobs.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572281)

The libs will want to institute more government regulations over theoretical earthquake risks and so forth, interfering with the efforts of businessmen to create wealth and jobs.

Problems with things like this and fracking have an easy fix - just require the management of all involved companies to live right on the site of project. If they are willing to eat their own dogfood then you know it's safe.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572339)

Except for when the problems start occuring decades after the work has finished.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572375)

Even if they are immediate (or pseudo-immediate such as causing caner in the workers) people would still take these jobs. There are tons of jobs which have contaminated the local area and caused all sorts of health problems. The jobs may or may not pay really well. The point is if they pay well people are willing to take that risk. People still START smoking even now despite knowing the risks. Evaluation of risk is tough. It isn't even really possible in many cases. Even if you were an expert in a field which made it possible for you to evaluate you would likely lack the data to do so.

wait what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572253)

dumb summary is dumb. and no I'm not going to rtfa.

Arn't there chemicals in the plastic bottles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572271)

n/t

Re:Arn't there chemicals in the plastic bottles? (1)

fotoguzzi (230256) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572283)

It's okay. They diffused.

SOUNDS LIKE FRACKING! (-1, Troll)

CajunArson (465943) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572291)

This sounds WAY too much like that bad evil fracking thing that I've been programmed to be scared of. I've seen videos of Everclear-- uh, I mean "tap water" -- that lit on fire because of fracking!

We need Matt Damon to make a move (funded by Abu Dhabi of course) that exposes the evils of this non-OPEC produced energy source immediately!

Re:SOUNDS LIKE FRACKING! (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572337)

I've seen videos of Everclear-- uh, I mean "tap water" -- that lit on fire because of fracking!

The gas in the groundwater is caused by improperly sealed boreholes. This can occur in wells regardless of whether they use fracking or not. Fracking, per se, does not cause flammable groundwater.

Re:SOUNDS LIKE FRACKING! (1)

CajunArson (465943) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572419)

I was actually referring to the infamous youtube videos of supposedly ordinary tap-water that was incredibly flammable due to fracking and just so happened to burn in exactly the same way that Everclear/Bacardi 151/etc. would burn when lit on fire....

Re:SOUNDS LIKE FRACKING! (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572855)

shh, dont spoil the woosh

Bio Degradeable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572333)

So does this mean that we no longer have to concern ourselves with recycling second time around Bio-Degradable plastic bottles?

What about the mole people! (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572349)

J.C. Denton is going to be real mad.

'Ground up plastic' (1)

CockMonster (886033) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572413)

So what exactly happens to this? Makes its way up to the surface eventually and generally fucks shit up I assume.

Re:'Ground up plastic' (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572571)

Water with a hint of warm bisphenol A?

Re:'Ground up plastic' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572593)

As opposed to plastic in land fills already on the surface? Or floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

This is also much, much deeper than normal fracking, or there would not be much heat. But otherwise it still is kind of a non-starter if you ask me. Geothermal gets you about 1W/m2 heat. So, heating a house is going to work. Air conditioning too. But power generation?? A few 10 GW thermal power would require 10^10 m2. That's 10^4 km2!! 10,000 sq. km. right.

So no, geothermal for large scale power generation is a no-go. It is not even sustainable on the large scale (eg. like 10GW thermal plant). But for small, distributed scale, yes, geothermal is very good power saver.

Re:'Ground up plastic' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572863)

"This is also much, much deeper than normal fracking, or there would not be much heat."

yes cause there is much less heat when you get closer to the nuclear core of a planet?

Re:'Ground up plastic' (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42573923)

As opposed to plastic in land fills already on the surface? Or floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

Plastic in the great pacific garbage patch is a real problem. But plastic in land fills isn't doing shit. It's not very hot in there (a couple hundred degrees tops) and water is going to follow channels through the mass without picking much of it up.

So no, geothermal for large scale power generation is a no-go. It is not even sustainable on the large scale (eg. like 10GW thermal plant). But for small, distributed scale, yes, geothermal is very good power saver.

Yes, so long as you only try to use it to heat water. When you start making electricity you start failing.

Re:'Ground up plastic' (1)

jamesh (87723) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572601)

So what exactly happens to this? Makes its way up to the surface eventually and generally fucks shit up I assume.

it doesn't even have to make it's way to the surface. Soon we'll be seeing pictures of little baby Morlock's, C.H.U.D.'s and Molemen, with plastic around their necks, dying in agony. They say the plastic is 'ground up' but I assume that means it's ground up small enough to fit in the bucket of a digger.

Re:'Ground up plastic' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572755)

Think of the baby Morlocks! Oh dear god what will we do.

Not the same as oil/gas fracking (4, Informative)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572445)

Everyone seems to be calling it fracking without reading the article. Technically it's fracking but they aren't using millions of gallons of highly toxic chemicals and they aren't fracturing rock to release gas and oil which migrates up into ground water. My guess is they are drilling a lot deeper as well. I wish they gave a depth, the article is thin on details. At around 10,000 feet the ground temperature is well over 100 degrees so I'm guessing at least twice that far. Okay I'll paste an excerpt from Wikepedia on Kola borehole below. They hit 356F before the heat made them stop. I'm curious how they got the plastic out? They glaze over details like that. The great thing with geothermal is potentially if you can drill deep enough you can do it anywhere.

Wikipedia excerpt

"The main target depth was set at 15,000 m (49,000 ft). On 6 June 1979, the world depth record held by the Bertha Rogers hole in Washita County, Oklahoma, at 9,583 m (31,440 ft)[3] was broken. In 1983, the drill passed 12,000 m (39,000 ft), and drilling was stopped for about a year to celebrate the event.[4] This idle period may have contributed to a break-down on 27 September 1984: after drilling to 12,066 m (39,587 ft), a 5,000 m (16,000 ft) section of the drill string twisted off and was left in the hole. Drilling was later restarted from 7,000 m (23,000 ft).[4] The hole reached 12,262 m (40,230 ft) in 1989. In that year the hole depth was expected to reach 13,500 m (44,300 ft) by the end of 1990 and 15,000 m (49,000 ft) by 1993.[5][6] However, due to higher than expected temperatures at this depth and location, 180 C (356 F) instead of expected 100 C (212 F), drilling deeper was deemed unfeasible and the drilling was stopped in 1992.[4] With the expected further increase in temperature with increasing depth, drilling to 15,000 m (49,000 ft) would have meant working at a projected 300 C (570 F), at which the drill bit would no longer work.[citation needed]"

Re:Not the same as oil/gas fracking (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572867)

Newberry is a large dormant (and not very dormant at that) shield volcano in Central Oregon. It's known for it bimodal volcanism with runny basaltic andesite erupting from hundreds of small cinder cones on its sprawling flanks, and viscous silica rich rhyolite, obsidian, and ash prone to erupting from the central caldera. This bimodal (basalt and rhyolite) character is shared with older extinct volcanoes showing a clear age progression across Oregon's high lava plains to the east-southeast. Newberry is the youngest volcanic center in this physiographic province, with the most recent eruption having occurred a bit more than a thousand years ago. Small hot springs are frequently active along the shores of the two small caldera lakes.

The rock at Newberry is hot at relatively shallow depths, which is why this area has long been considered for geothermal energy. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of existing groundwater, or at least the ground is not highly permeable, so it's necessary to pump in water and break up the rock a bit so water will flow easily. Well depths will be about 10,000 feet if I recall correctly, and the temperature at those depths will be about 285 degrees C.

Re:Not the same as oil/gas fracking (3, Informative)

riverat1 (1048260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572997)

Where they're drilling here in on the slopes of Newberry Volcano which has erupted at least 6 times in the last 12,000 years, the last eruption being about 1,400 years ago. There's a magma chamber beneath it so they don't have to go so deep. Wikipedia says [wikipedia.org] they're drilling down 2-3 km (6,500-10,000 feet).

Rather see more heat pumps. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572655)

Geothermal power is one thing, but I'd rather see more heat-pumps using ground loops. Schools, malls, hospitals, sports stadiums could all use them.

Re:Rather see more heat pumps. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572879)

heat pumps suck, period

I had baseboard heaters in my old apartment, and they toasted up the room nice n quick

I have a heat pump now, it blows out air as cold as it is outside, it freezes up when its below zero, my electricity cost went from about 98$ a month in the dead of winter with baseboard heaters, to over 175 with a fucking heat pump that I was freezing my balls off.

I went out and got some cheap space heaters, and come winter shut that worthless joke off, and now I am back down to 100$ electric bills

and to top it off, its AC sucks ass too, it can run 24/7 and never get below 82 degrees F in a dinky 2 bedroom apartment

fuck heat pumps, a fucking fan heats better thanks to its motor windings, and cools better as well

now your going to try and sell me on the low flow toliets that use 1/3 the water, but take 2 god damed flushes

Entropy (1)

macraig (621737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572709)

If geothermal heat was tapped for power to meet all our energy needs on the same scale as coal, gas, and oil are used now, would there be any consequences for the planet? Would that be more than just an extra drop of what already leaks into space past the insulating crust through volcanoes? Would it increase entropy? Would it ultimately cool the Earth faster? Would it slow its rotation or mess with plate tectonics?

Re:Entropy (2)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572807)

As long as it hurts the oil companies it's a good thing.

Re:Entropy (2)

riverat1 (1048260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42573019)

At the rate humans are currently using energy it would have no effect. This development is just tapping residual heat off the magma chamber below Newberry Volcano so it would have no effect other than perhaps slowing down the timing of the next eruption a bit.

LOL! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42572787)

Man we're workin hard to fuckup and pollute the planet in new and imaginative ways never heard of before!

Fuck those future people right. What have they done for us. lol.

We sure do deserve the world we get. glad i'll be long dead by the time we figure out these were really stupid things to do.

I can't tell whether I like or hate... (1)

jordonwii (1968958) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572975)

TFS' title. "Geothermal power advances" is such an informative title, but it does the job, I guess.

Well... (1)

Cosgrach (1737088) | about a year and a half ago | (#42573057)

What could possibly go wrong?

"Then the plastic diffused" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42573173)

Uh, what? This sounds too bad to be false.

Conversation about science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42574079)

I was hoping for a conversation improving my knowledge about the pros and cons of geothermal powers being created. Potential power output, number of places this would be useful, etc... Jumping on a political football doesn't seem as useful.

"...cracking open fissures in the deep rock..." (-1, Troll)

John Hasler (414242) | about a year and a half ago | (#42574113)

FRACKING! FRACKING! EVIL! EVIL! EVIL!!1!

Oh. Wailt. It's for hydrothermal. That's "green" and "sustainable". So it's ok and anyone who says it will pollute your well or that mining sand for it will give your kids silicosis is a filthy denier.

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