Thursday, November 5, 2015

Science & Technology: Using Super-critical or "Dragon Water" for Geothermal Energy

Can ‘Dragon Water’ Power the Planet With Renewable Energy? (EcoWatch)

Photo credit: Milan Nykodym / Flickr
An ambitious project is being launched to drill deep into the Earth’s crust to harness super-heated “dragon water” that would generate massive quantities of renewable energy.

Unlike traditional geothermal heat, which exploits hot rocks to produce steam for turbines, this project goes far deeper—to where the pressure and temperature are huge but the potential benefits are 10 times as great.

At a depth of between two to three kilometers, the conditions change dramatically and the drillers will encounter what has been called “dragon water.” No one has previously managed to control the forces unleashed in a well under such extreme high temperature and pressure conditions.

There is an infinite amount of energy beneath the Earth’s crust. The problem is the technology to harness it.

The European Union (EU) believes that deep drilling techniques developed by the oil industry can be adapted to extract the energy. It has earmarked €15.6 million (about $17 million) for a project in which potentially the world’s most energy-rich geothermal well will be drilled at Larderello in Tuscany, Italy.

Global green energy producer Enel Green Power is heading the project called DESCRAMBLE (Drilling in dEep, Super-CRitical AMBients of continentaL Europe), where the aim is to extract the maximum possible energy from the well.

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