Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Science & Technology: Harnessing Geothermal Power from Magma - A History of Exploration

The Quest for Magma (Inside Science)

Drilling directly into magma may help humanity harness a vast new source of clean energy

Plunging tools into glowing-hot magma miles underground might sound fantastical. But in recent years, a handful of geothermal energy companies have done so without meaning to. The first documented case was actually at the Puna Geothermal Venture in Hawaii in 2005 -- the same plant that has been scrambling this month to remove flammable chemicals and shut its wells before lava pours in from Kilauea's ongoing eruption. 

All the companies that struck magma were trying to find hot water that they could use to drive turbines, the traditional way of producing geothermal energy. Instead, their drill bits ground to a halt, unable to cut through the thick, sticky mush of molten rock.

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