Hot Rocks – The Green Nuclear Power

GeoDynamics Ltd is focused on the development of zero emissions, renewable energy generation from hot fractured rocks (HFR) in Australia.

The Company’s CEO says “The granite is hot because of the natural nuclear activity in there – it’s green nuclear,”

The company plans to pipe high-pressure hot water from the granite bedrock four kilometres beneath the Queensland-South Australia border, where the slow decay of potassium, thorium and uranium generates temperatures as high as 300 degrees.

Dr Williams expects the company to send electricity to the national power grid by 2010 and later directly to western Sydney. By 2015, it could produce as much electricity as the Snowy Mountains hydro scheme.Geodynamics process

“There’s enough energy to run the country for thousands of years,” said Prame Chopra, a scientist who sits on the Geodynamics board. According to a conservative estimate by the Centre for International Economics, Australia has enough geothermal energy to meet electricity consumption for 450 years.

Australia is home to all of the world’s six listed hot fractured rock geothermal energy companies. One, Petratherm, recently signed a memorandum of understanding to supply geothermal electricity to South Australia’s Beverley uranium mine by late 2009.

Torrens Energy, which listed on the stock exchange three weeks ago, is exploring hot sites near Adelaide.

Geodynamic, assisted by $11.8 million in federal grants, said it would produce one megawatt of electricity for about $45 an hour – compared with coal power of about $35.

The Prime Minister’s taskforce on nuclear energy estimated the cost of nuclear energy at $40-$65, “clean coal” at $50-$100 and photovoltaic solar energy as high as $120.

The beauty here is that if the technology is proved then a small carbon price is enough to make this viable. The prospect of atleast 450 years of energy for Australia is exciting.

Recently, Torrens Energy debuted in the ASX at a 75 per cent premium to its offer price of 20 cents a share with promise of No fuel, no emissions, no waste.

A recent MIT study backed “heat mining” as a key energy source for the US.

The study shows that drilling several wells to reach hot rock and connecting them to a fractured rock region that has been stimulated to let water flow through it creates a heat-exchanger that can produce large amounts of hot water or steam to run electric generators at the surface. Unlike conventional fossil-fuel power plants that burn coal, natural gas or oil, no fuel would be required. And unlike wind and solar systems, a geothermal plant works night and day, offering a non-interruptible source of electric power.

… “This environmental advantage is due to low emissions and the small overall footprint of the entire geothermal system, which results because energy capture and extraction is contained entirely underground, and the surface equipment needed for conversion to electricity is relatively compact,” [Jefferson W.] Tester [the H. P. Meissner Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT] said.

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One thought on “Hot Rocks – The Green Nuclear Power

  1. Pingback: Geothermal, BHP and SA « World is Green

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