Inexhaustible energy resource, which mankind is not paying enough attention

Неисчерпаемый энергетический ресурс, которому человечество не уделяет достаточно внимания

Now a curious fact, which many people know: the deepest artificial hole on the planet has a depth of 15 thousand feet. A much smaller number of people known reason failed to continue drilling: excessively high temperature. So, welcome to the world of geothermal energy, which we owe the concept of hell. As you know, most religions depict it as a place located deep underground. What the hell can be used as a source of unlimited amounts of clean energy for the planet and not have to turn it into a disco ball, is entirely covered with solar panels.If you do not go into scientific details, geothermal energy is the heat that is generated by decay of radioactive elements, abundant in the mantle of our planet. The amount of energy that can turn this heat, defies human understanding. According to the nonprofit organization “Union of concerned scientists,” in the ten layer below the Earth’s surface is 50 thousand times more heat energy than it can give burning all proven reserves of oil and gas in the world. This energy can be accumulated and used for heating and electricity generation.Of course, from the point of view of experts in drilling, of 10 thousand meters – quite a considerable depth for the well. However, it is not fundamentally impossible, as was demonstrated by the engineers back in the eighties, drilled his 15-kilometer well. We just need to engage seriously in the development of new drilling technologies.The problem with geothermal energy – or, rather, an obstacle to its transformation into the main source of heat and electricity for mankind lies in the fact that the heat of the mantle not in all parts of the world equally accessible. In some places, such as Iceland and New Zealand, the heated layers are closer to the surface, so they are easier – and more importantly – cheaper to develop and use.In other places the heat is concealed at a considerable depth. However, it is not so bad. The fact that the so-called “hot spots” of geothermal energy are areas of high tectonic and seismic activity, which means a high probability of earthquakes, as well as in those places where the thickness of the crust is minimal.But the most remarkable feature of geothermal energy is that it is absolutely everywhere and not just in hot spots. It is important to understand that at these points the highest temperature of the mantle, and some of the natural geysers reaches a temperature of 200 degrees Celsius and even more. But at lower temperatures, geothermal energy can also be used for direct heating.That’s what they do in Iceland. Most of the heating needs of this tiny Nordic countries is met by geothermal resources. Gradually some other countries are beginning to follow suit. Just a week ago in China was commissioned geothermal heating system, which, according to the project, will provide heat 35 thousand people in the innovation center of southwest Jiaotong University in the Chinese province of Sichuan. Thus through the use of geothermal energy the carbon dioxide emissions will decrease by 68 thousand tons per year.The Chinese geothermal heat accumulates at a depth of only two or three kilometers, where the temperature is 70-120 degrees Celsius. However, modern technology can afford to get this energy even with smaller depths.It is these technologies and deals with a special unit of the French company Engie , near Paris. They drill wells to a depth of 2-3 kilometers to harness water, which at this point has a temperature of about 70 degrees. She’s going to a pipe system for heating household area, and then injected back into the underground tank. Reducing carbon emissions is, according to the company, about 25 thousand tons per year.The idea of using geothermal energy certainly is gaining in popularity. Another country which is currently considering the use of this renewable natural source of heat for heating and possibly for electricity production, is Finland. Still not found out whether the country’s geothermal resources, the use of which would be justified from an economic point of view, but work on this is already underway.It is not surprising that Germany, given its ambitious goals in the field of hydrocarbon neutrality, also uses its geothermal potential. There is already constructed geothermal power plant in Bavaria, and there are plans to significantly increase its capacity until 2040. By this time, Bayern expect to reduce to zero the use of hydrocarbon energy sources.Another example is Turkey. The country has geothermal facilities with a total capacity of 1.3 Gigawatts, and by 2025 it will increase to 7 GW. Energy demand in Turkey is growing constantly, and she doesn’t want to stay completely dependent on fossil fuels, especially as most of the oil and natural gas have to be imported.In other words, more than enough examples. The world seems to begin to realise the potential of geothermal energy sources and the fact that it is not necessarily uncompetitive because of high cost. The United States also are no exception. In early December, the University of Texas announced his initiative in this area, which was called Geothermal Entrepreneurship Organization. Her goal is to turn Texas into a national centre for the development of technologies for obtaining and use of geothermal energy.And it is not a coincidence. Texas is the center of the oil industry, where many experts with appropriate knowledge. As stated by the leaders of this initiative, Bob Metcalfe and Jamie bird of the innovation center, Cockrell School at the University of Texas: “the Drilling complex and very deep wells at extremely high temperatures is that the oil and gas industry can do best. Existing technology combined with innovations designed to reduce the cost of drilling, can today be used to produce geothermal energy in any part of the world. Basic geothermal power is achievable in the nearest decades”.Base power – this is truly the magic word. It is a reliable constant stream of energy required for operation of the power supply. Solar and wind power do not provide the same result due to the lack of reliable ways to store energy. Geothermal energy is stable, and the thing is to learn to accumulate it and use it for heating and electricity production.Of course, there are a number of problems, chief of which is associated with the possibility of increasing seismic activity caused by drilling. In many cases it is these considerations that make investors wary of investment in such projects. Another problem is the high initial cost, although everyone understands that over time they will decline, in particular due to progress in drilling technologies, which have led to a significant reduction in the cost of oil and gas production.From geothermal energy certainly has a future, and it can be bright if people will dare to give her the attention she deserves.