Geothermal vs Nuclear

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jneo's picture
jneo
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Geothermal vs Nuclear

Geothermal Power vs. Nuclear power = Geothermal Power

Nuclear is to dangerous and risky and very high cost and high energy consumption to produce Uranium

The solution is: - Geothermal Power 

Geothermal energy utilizes what is called heat mining, which, though a simple process using water, is able to generate massive amounts of clean energy. 

In 2006, an MIT report on geothermal energy found that 13,000 zettajoules of power are currently available in the earth, with the possibility of 2000 zj being easily tap-able with improved technology. 

The total energy consumption of all the countries on the planet is about half of a zettajoule a year

This means about 4000 years of planetary power could be harnessed in this medium alone

And when we understand that the earth's heat generation is constantly renewed, this energy is really limitless and could be used forever. 

These energy sources are only a few of the clean, renewable mediums available, and as time goes on, we will find more. 

The grand realization is that we have total energy abundance, without the need for pollution, traditional conservation, or, in fact, a price tag.

 

Hmmmm Could it be that the Oil Cartels are suppressing this?

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Re: Geothermal vs Nuclear

Geothermal power

Geothermal power is the use of geothermal heat for electricity generation. It is often referred to as a form of renewable energy, but because the heat at any location can eventually be depleted it technically may not be strictly renewable. Geothermal comes from the Greek words geo, meaning earth, and therme, meaning heat. Geothermal literally means "earth heat".

Types of geothermal sources

Geothermal_energy_methods.png

Geothermal energy sources.

Geothermal power is generated by mining the earth's heat. In areas with high temperature ground water at shallow depths, wells are drilled into natural fractures in basement rock or into permeable sedimentary rocks. Hot water or steam flows up through the wells either by pumping or through boiling (flashing) flow. Experiments are in progress to determine if a fourth method, deep wells into "hot dry rocks", can be economically used to heat water pumped down from the surface. A hot dry rock project in the United Kingdom was abandoned after it was pronounced economically unviable in 1989. HDR programs are currently being developed in Australia, France, Switzerland and Germany. Magma (molten rock) resources offer extremely high-temperature geothermal opportunities, but existing technology does not allow recovery of heat from these resources.

Electrical generation

Geothermal-generated electricity was first produced at Larderello, Italy, in 1904. Since then, the use of geothermal energy for electricity has grown worldwide to about 8,000 megawatts of which the United States produces 2,700 megawatts.

Three types of power plants are used to generate power from geothermal energy: Dry steam, flash, and binary. Dry steam plants take steam out of fractures in the ground and use it to directly drive a turbine that spins a generator. Flash plants take hot water, usually at temperatures over 200°C, out of the ground, and allows it to boil as to rises to the surface then separates the steam phase in steam/water separators and then runs the steam through a turbine. In binary plants, the hot water flows through heat exchangers, boiling an organic fluid that spins the turbine. The condensed steam and remaining geothermal fluid from all three types of plants are injected back into the hot rock to pick up more heat. This is why geothermal energy is viewed as sustainable. The heat of the earth is so vast that there is no way to remove more than a small fraction even if most of the world's energy needs came from geothermal sources.

The largest dry steam field in the world is The Geysers, about 90 miles (145 km) north of San Francisco began in 1960 which has 1360 MW of installed capacity and produces about 1000 MW net. Calpine Corporation now owns 19 of the 21 plants in The Geysers and is currently the United States' largest producer of renewable geothermal energy. The other two plants are owned jointly by the Northern California Power Agency and Santa Clara Electric. Since the activities of one geothermal plant affects those nearby, the consolidation plant ownership at The Geysers has been beneficial because the plants operate cooperatively instead of in their own short-term interest. The Geysers is now recharged by injecting treated sewage effluent from the City of Santa Rosa and the Lake County sewage treatment plant. This sewage effluent used to be dumped into rivers and streams and is now piped to the geothermal field where it replenishes the steam produced for power generation.

Another major geothermal area is located in south central California, on the southeast side of the Salton Sea, near the cities of Niland and Calipatria, CA. As of 2001, there were 15 geothermal plants producing electricity in the area. CalEnergy owns about half of them and the rest are owned by various companies. Combined the plants produce about 570 megawatts.

The Basin and Range geologic province in Nevada, southeastern Oregon, southwestern Idaho, Arizona and western Utah is now an area of rapid geothermal development. Several small power plants were built during the late 1980s during times of high power prices. Rising energy costs have spurred new development. Plants in Nevada at Steamboat near Reno, Brady/Desert Peak, Dixie Valley, Soda Lake, Stillwater and Beowawe now produce about 235 MW. New projects are under development across the state.

Geothermal power is very cost-effective in the Rift area of Africa. Kenya's KenGen has built two plants, Olkaria I (45 MW) and Olkaria II (65 MW), with a third private plant Olkaria III (48 MW) run by Israeli geothermal specialist Ormat. Plans are to increase production capacity by another 576 MW by 2017, covering 25% of Kenya's electricity needs, and correspondingly reducing dependency on imported oil.

Geothermal power is generated in over 20 countries around the world including Iceland (producing 17% of its electricity from geothermal sources), the United States, Italy, France, New Zealand, Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Russia, the Philippines (production output of 1931MW (2nd to US, 27% of electricity), Indonesia and Japan. Canada's government (which officially notes some 30,000 earth-heat installations for providing space heating to Canadian residential and commercial buildings) reports a test geothermal-electrical site in the Meager Mountain–Pebble Creek area of British Columbia, where a 100 MW facility might be developed at that site.

Desalination

Douglas Firestone began working with evaporation/condensation air loop desalination about 1998 and proved that geothermal waters could be used as process water to produce potable water in 2001.In 2003 Professor Ronald A. Newcomb, now at San Diego State University Center for Advanced Water Technologies began to work with Firestone to enhance the process of using geothermal energy for the purpose of desalination. Geothermal Energy is a primary energy source.

In 2005 testing was done in the fifth prototype of a device called the "Delta T" a closed air loop, atmospheric pressure, evaporation condensation loop geothermally powered desalination device. The device used filtered sea water from Scripps Institute of Oceanography and reduced the salt concentration from 35,000 ppm to 51 ppm w/w. Aqua Genesis Ltd - Delta T - Testing Information (accessed 30 March, 2006)

Water injection

In some locations, the natural supply of water producing steam from the hot underground magma deposits has been exhausted and processed waste water is injected to replenish the supply. Most geothermal fields have more fluid recharge than heat, so re-injection can cool the resource, unless it is carefully managed. In at least one location, this has resulted in small but frequent earthquakes (see external link below). This has led to disputes about whether the plant owners are liable for the damage the earthquakes cause.

Heat depletion

Although geothermal sites are capable of providing heat for many decades, eventually they are depleted as the ground cools. RESPONSE OF WAIRAKEI GEOTHERMAL RESERVOIR TO 40 YEARS OF PRODUCTION, 2006 (pdf) Allan Clotworthy, Proceedings World Geothermal Congress 2000. (accessed 30 March) The government of Iceland states It should be stressed that the geothermal resource is not strictly renewable in the same sense as the hydro resource. It estimates that Iceland's geothermal energy could provide 1700 MW for over 100 years, compared to the current production of 140 MW. However, the natural heat flow of the earth largely from radioactive decay does replenish the heat lost in geothermal heat mining.

Cost

Geothermal power is more competitive in countries that have limited hydrocarbon resources, such as Iceland, New Zealand, and Italy. During the period of low power prices in the 1980s to the recent rise in oil and gas prices, few geothermal resource areas in the United States were capable of generating electricity at a cost competitive with other energy sources. However, recent rises in power prices make geothermal more cost competitive.

Not all areas of the world have a usable geothermal resource, though many do. Also, some geothermal areas do not have a high enough temperature to produce steam. In those areas, geothermal power can be generated using a process called binary cycle technology, though the efficiency is lower. Other areas do not have the water to produce steam, which is necessary for current plant designs. Geothermal areas without steam are called hot dry rock areas and methods for exploiting them are being researched. Also, instead of producing electricity, lower temperature areas can provide space and process heating. As of 1998, the United States has 18 district heating systems, 28 fish farms, 12 industrial plants, 218 spas and 38 greenhouses that use geothermal heat.

See also

*Geothermal power in Iceland
*Geothermal heating
*Geothermal exchange heat pump
*Earth cooling tubes

References

 

External links

*Geothermal Energy
*Australian National University Hotrock website
*Geodynamics - Australian Company developing Geothermal Electricity in Australia
*US Department of Energy pages on geothermal energy
*A University of Alaska article on geothermal energy
*Geothermal Power News The latest geothermal news, updated daily

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Re: Geothermal vs Nuclear

Geothermal may induce earthquakes, like it happened in Switzerland:

Geothermal Power Plant Triggers Earthquake in Switzerland
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/01/geothermal_powe.php

Also, in Japan, people don't want to have "ugly" (non-tree object) geothermal power plant close to their hot springs they have all over the country... BTW, they don't want "ugly" wind turbines spinning around either, but PV cells look OK on the roof. So, they're pushing for PV cells, but they're kind of expensive and the smart grid isn't up and working yet to provide more than ~15% from that...

Don't blame it all on the big companies. Most citizens aren't all that smart either...

Samuel

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Re: Geothermal vs Nuclear
JK121 wrote:

<snip>

Geothermal Power vs. Nuclear power = Geothermal Power

Nuclear is to dangerous and risky and very high cost and high energy consumption to produce Uranium

The solution is: - Geothermal Power 

I may be biased since I oversaw the operation and maintenance of submarine nuclear power plants for almost half of my Naval career, but exactly how is nuclear power "to (sic) dangerous and risky"? 

The Navy's safety track record is exceptional - no accidents in over 50 years.  Three Mile Island notwithstanding, the civilian nuclear power industry's track record is relatively good.  More people have died in Ted Kennedy's car than in a US nuclear power plant accident/incident.

As to cost, the initial cost is high - but the break even is between 7-11 years.  Well worth it when you consider the average operational lifetime of a power plant is 15-20 years between refueling.  The Navy's reactor are even better.

Your argument that "production" of uranium requires high energy consumption is erroneous.  By production I assume you mean enrichment to usable fuel?  This is a poison pill argument - energy input requirements for UO2 conversion are comparable to the energy operating costs of a coal or NG power generation station for a year.  With 15-20 years between refuelings - you actually save more energy.  Additionally, the US has demonstrated breeder reactor fuel technologies which greatly enhances long term operations.  There are periodic shutdowns required to "remove" fission product poisons, but these can be staggered between power units at a site so as to ensure power generation continuity.  The French have been using breeder reactor technology for years quite successfully.

The biggest challenge to expanding the use of nuclear power in the US is overcoming ignorance fueled emotion and fear and special interests.

And coming up with enough concrete and steel to build enough plants.

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Why can't we love life without nuclear power?
Dogs_In_A_Pile wrote:

I may be biased since I oversaw the operation and maintenance of submarine nuclear power plants for almost half of my Naval career...

Your argument that "production" of uranium requires high energy consumption is erroneous.  By production I assume you mean enrichment to usable fuel?  This is a poison pill argument - energy input requirements for UO2 conversion are comparable to the energy operating costs of a coal or NG power generation station for a year.

Your bias came through, I think, when you reduced production to enrichment.  That left out several energy consuming steps in the pre-core-installation part of the nuclear fuel cycle.  For example, fuel rods are manufactured products.  They must fit as intended; tolerances must be observed.

What are facts?  Can we ever get enough of them?

Why can't we love life without nuclear power?

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Re: Why can't we love life without nuclear power?

degg -

Would you be happier if I amended it to read "....enrichment process...."?  Wink

I figured only a handful of us would understand gas diffusion and laser parameterization of the fuel matrices so I shortened it to "enrichment".

And I agree - we can love life without nuclear power but that's a genie that can't be put back in its bottle.

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Re: Geothermal vs Nuclear

 I did talk to a guy  going through the area . He said they do not have enough help building the nuclear power  plants he was putting up ,  needs engineers , boiler techs,  and   Grade A welders .  I am not sure if it was at Wolfcreek  or the one in Texas .  

 Probably not the kind of job for a lot of folks here  but you might know someone laid off.

 Might as well go out with a bang . Beats starving I am almost sure .

 FM

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deggleton
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Re: Why can't we love life without nuclear power?
Dogs_In_A_Pile wrote:

degg -

Would you be happier if I amended it to read "....enrichment process...."?  Wink

I figured only a handful of us would understand gas diffusion and laser parameterization of the fuel matrices so I shortened it to "enrichment".

And I agree - we can love life without nuclear power but that's a genie that can't be put back in its bottle.

No, on closer inspection, I'd be happier if JK121 had spoken in terms of the nuclear fuel cycle (from mining of ore through fabrication and insertion of rods) instead of merely writing "produce Uranium."  I took that to mean that section of the cycle, but you were not wrong to color within the lines s/he drew.

What's done is done, certainly, but did your closing mean that you believe we're obligated to open more bottles and welcome more genies?

David

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Dogs_In_A_Pile
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Re: Why can't we love life without nuclear power?
deggleton wrote:

What's done is done, certainly, but did your closing mean that you believe we're obligated to open more bottles and welcome more genies?

David

Obligated?  No.  But it would be nice to let a couple of benevolent genies out every now and then. 

DamnTheMatrix had a real good discussion on the biggest challenges to wider use of nuclear power as an alternative to oil - there simply isn't enough steel and concrete to build the number of plants necessary to eliminate our dependency on oil and coal for power generation.  Even half the number is daunting.  I read an article a while back that said we would need upwards of 750 nuclear power plants to replace the current level of energy production from coal and oil.  Never mind the fact that from day 1 it takes about 7 years to build a nuclear power plant.  Nuclear power is a viable alternative except that it runs into obstacles with all three of the challenges Chris talks about - Time (already behind the power curve - no pun intended), Scale (resource limited) and Cost (might not be an issue if we go to Uncle Ben and Aunt Timmy's Bank for a loan)

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Mike Pilat
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Re: Geothermal vs Nuclear

I did the calculations of the number of nuclear plants required to replace oil a couple years back. It was above 600. This does not take into account the necessary replacements we will have to do to the existing (and aging!) plants.

One important caveat though: generating electricity from nuclear fuel can be done fairly efficiently compared to burning gas in a car. Theoretically, we wouldn't need to replace every one of the potential BTUs in liquid fuels, only the BTUs that are actually used to move the car forward. So efficiency and conservation can help.

I do think nuclear power is going to play a strong role in the future, but centuries from now, it will be recognized that it merely slowed the decline in energy consumption a little. It is not a "solution" and of course, provides electricity, which doesn't do much for automobiles at present.

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jneo
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Re: Geothermal vs Nuclear

 

Time to throw SOLAR into the MIX here.  I've learned to argue with Politicians and listen to The Futurists.

http://www.livescience.com/environment/080219-kurzweil-solar.html

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