Friday, November 2, 2018

USA, South Dakota: Research on How Geothermal Hydro-Shearing Impacts Rock in Deep Underground Wells

Sanford Underground Research Facility studying geothermal fracking (Rapid City Journal)

(Courtesy Rapid City Journal)
The SIGMA-V experiment is part of a larger project out of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab that began Oct. 1 in the Sanford Underground Research Facility, or SURF, that seeks to find out how geothermal fracking impacts rock in deep underground wells.

Typically, "fracking" is not considered a clean energy. Engineers push water and fluids into shallow wells to extract hydrocarbons, such as natural gas, but the byproducts are the stuff of headlines: water from faucets in Appalachia able to be lit on fire or seismic tremors in Oklahoma near wells. But geothermal fracking is much deeper and involves only water.

"We're talking green energy here," said Bill Roggenthen, a seismologist with South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City. "No CO2, no methane. Geothermal energy is, well, pretty cool, but really we're talking about utilizing heat that is coming out of the earth in a responsible manner."