Heat mining potential in the US

Heat mining apparently has much greater potential in the US as previously thought. The idea of exploiting geothermal energy by drilling deep holes into hot rocks deep underground is not confined to Iceland and Yellowstone. According to a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) this awesome, abundant source of energy (the hot core of the Earth) is accessible even is much less geologically active areas, like the East Coast. You just have to drill a bit deeper. A lot deeper. But it can be done.

According to panel member M. Nafi Toksöz, professor of geophysics at MIT, “geothermal energy could play an important role in our national energy picture as a non-carbon-based energy source. It’s a very large resource and has the potential to be a significant contributor to the energy needs of this country.”

Toksöz added that the electricity produced annually by geothermal energy systems now in use in the United States at sites in California, Hawaii, Utah and Nevada is comparable to that produced by solar and wind power combined. And the potential is far greater still, since hot rocks below the surface are available in most parts of the United States.

Even in the most promising areas, however, drilling must reach depths of 5,000 feet or more in the west, and much deeper in the eastern United States. Still, “the possibility of drilling into these rocks, fracturing them and pumping water in to produce steam has already been shown to be feasible,” Toksöz said.

MIT-led panel backs ‘heat mining’ as key U.S. energy source – January 22, 2007

I think this is really exciting news. Let’s go drill some holes.

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