Monday, October 5, 2015

Science & Technology: New Mexico Professor Helps EGS Research

Research on non-polluting geothermal systems (Las Cruces Sun-News)

Tapping the natural heat of the earth may be more cost-effective and clean thanks to a research project by New Mexico State University Assistant Professor Kenneth C. Carroll and others.

Carroll is a member of a group that has published two papers related to a new area of geothermal energy, called enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). These systems are designed to enable power production in areas where conventional geothermal techniques don’t work.

The group has developed a new fracturing fluid that uses an environmentally friendly polymer to create tiny cracks in bedrock deep below the surface of the earth. The cracks provide places for water to be pumped into the rock, a process called “reservoir stimulation.” There, the heat of the earth – around 150-400 degrees Celsius at depths of 900-4,000 meters – is hot enough to turn the water to steam. The steam then can be returned to the surface and used as an energy source for power plants.

Environmentally friendly, rheoreversible, hydraulic-fracturing fluids for enhanced geothermal systems by Hongbo Shaoa, Senthil Kabilana, Sean Stephensa, Niraj Suresha, Anthon N. Becka, Tamas Vargaa, Paul F. Martina, Andrew Kuprata, Hun Bok Junga, Wooyong Uma, Alain Bonnevillea, David J. Heldebranta, Kenneth C. Carrollb, Joseph Moorec, Carlos A. Fernandeza, doi:10.1016/j.geothermics.2015.07.010