Hot Rock Energy -- Still on the Boil


We first hinted at the potential of hot rocks mid last year. Then it seemed little more than a distant and esoteric sci-fi type idea. However with nuclear rearing its ugly head, as a possible and supposedly greenhouse-gas-neutral panacea to our looming energy woes, new alternatives are keenly sought. (Though as the International Herald Tribune noted this week "Nuclear power plants would take too long to build, would need subsidies and may cut carbon emissions less than expected, the [British] House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee said.") No doubt in light of such views, the Australian state government of Victoria recently requested commercial interest in 31 exploration drilling permits to find the state's best hot rock sites. Part of their goal to have 10% of Victoria's energy go 'green' by 2010. The concept is simple really. Pump water down into the Earth's core, so it can be super heated by contact with those hot rocks, returning to the surface as steam, which in turn drive turbines to create energy. The water is basically in a close loop, so after spinning said turbines it's sent off down into the bowels once more. Links to more articles on the Geothermal page of ::Alternative Energy News.See also Hot Rocks at Australian National University and Geodynamics. A similar project to the Australian ones is underway in France. More on this in the MIT Technology Review.