Tuesday, September 22, 2015

GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo

Balls of DNA Could Fix Geothermal Energy’s Biggest Problem (Wired)

Wednesday, 8:40am, Capri Ballroom 3, Peppermill Resort Spa Casino
DNA-Encapsulated Silica Nanoparticle Tracers for Fracture Characterization, Zhang, Yuran & Manley, Timothy & Li, Kewen & Horne, Roland

Wired Magazine features work by a team led by Roland Horne at Stanford University in California. A presentation on the subject is being presented tomorrow morning at the GRC Technical Sessions at the GRC Annual Meeting.

SEM image of SiO2 Silicon Dioxide empty balls, coated with gold and
imaged in scanning electron microscope.  SHERI NEVA
Geothermal power has the potential to be cheap, reliable, and abundant—running off the heat of the Earth 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That’s especially true thanks to a new generation of home-grown geothermal plants, which don’t run off the steam of natural hot springs and geysers. No need to find those hydrothermal gems; today, geothermal engineers are making their own reservoirs by drilling down into hot rock and pumping in their own water.

The catch? Engineers can’t see what’s happening underground. Drilling wells in just the right spot can be like playing golf blindfolded: Even if someone faces you in the right direction, you could still hit the ball way off the green. But tiny fragments of DNA dropped into the wells could soon help engineers follow the path of water underground, helping them sink their putts every time.

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