Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Let's boil some water!!

Here is something fun to think about. In the next 10 years or so, hopefully, we will deal with something called Geothermal Energy. Now this is some cool shit that is really scary at the same time. It works quite simply on paper. It will cost billions of dollars to do, but the benefits for the average person will be ridiculously awesome. There are two main parts

The first part works like this: In the earth there is an area that remains a constant temperature all the time at any time of year and at any latitude. You dig down a little anywhere in the earth, about 25 feet in North America up to about 200 feet in eastern Siberia, there is a zone of part of the earth that will remain a constant temperature. This temperature is 55 degrees. This means that tapping into this temperature resource gives us a perfect starting point for all of our energy. In the middle of the summer, when it is 100 degrees outside and you want your house to be 70 degrees, you have the ability to pump air that is 55 degrees to cool your house and that is your starting point. If you want to have 70 degrees in the winter and it is 30 degrees outside, you start at 55 degrees and work your way from there. This is a simple concept and the technology is there. This will save people billions upon billions of dollars in resources and energy costs. It will cost billions to set up and the rewards will be far away. Sucks, but that is the way it usually works.

The second part is even more exciting, but effects particular parts of the world more than others. Deeper in the ground is the true Geothermal Energy that we get excited about and that we all here about. It is essentially harnessing the awesome power of magma flows, steam and underground volcanoes to generate the heat required to boil water that powers all power plants to create electricity. (Did you know that, all electricity comes from boiling water)? This is much more expensive to get, sort of. If we do #1 and get that going then digging the extra amount down to the hot stuff is actually easier to get to when you start.

I hate specifics and the love the science behind this stuff, but I will not get into it. It should be neat though. I think this idea makes more sense than trying to duplicate a small star inside a concrete funnel to boil water. However, when you think about it, it’s all kind of crazy when you think about it. We are going to tap an underground super volcano like a beer keg or control a continuous nuclear explosion in a tube so that we can heat and power our homes. It is all neat, but kind of scary in a science fiction way.

How about we set up windmills and solar panels instead, since that is cheaper, easier and a little less fuckin’ dangerous?

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