12 miles below the surface, superhot rocks have the potential to produce ENDLESS clean energy for the entire world
Superheated rocks that can reach 752 degrees Fahrenheit are situated 12 miles below the surface, while modern drills can only reach depths of 8 miles.
- By 2030, the globe could have unlimited access to renewable energy thanks to superheated rocks situated 12 miles underneath the surface of the planet.
- Water collects the energy and transports it to a place where rocks are heated to a temperature of 752 degrees Fahrenheit before flowing back to the surface to power generators.
- But as of yet, the maximum depth that can be reached by drills is slightly under eight miles.
The world might have unlimited access to clean energy from rocks heated to 752 degrees just 12 miles below the surface of the Earth, but getting to them is more difficult than it sounds.
In a report on a potential breakthrough that was just released, the Clean Air Task Force noted that the deepest borehole that had ever been dug was only eight miles deep. The distance that must be mined to reach the rocks, however, is just about two miles in volcanic zones.
The energy systems would release water where the rocks are heated to 752 degrees Fahrenheit, where it would then flow back to the surface to power generators that would only cost $20 to $35 per megawatt-hour—natural gas has skyrocketed to more than $84—instead of the current price of natural gas, which is more than $84.
The team recently carried out tests in Iceland, where they were able to create five times as much electricity as a typical geothermal well while only drilling two miles due to a volcano. The advancement of power demonstrations in the 2020s will be a crucial first step toward the commercialization of superhot rock energy.
According to the Clean Air Task Force, several businesses are currently preparing for or anticipating initiatives in this timeframe. The power facilities as we know them would be completely changed by the superhot rock systems.
For instance, boilers used for nuclear and fossil fuel energy are not required, nor are enormous tracts of land. Instead, a subterranean heat gathering system connecting wells to the energy production facilities made up of steam turbines, electricity generators, and transmission facilities will be used for superhot rock surface equipment, the research states.
However, “major engineering improvements” like quick, ultra-deep drilling techniques, heat-resistant good materials and tools, and the creation of deep heat reservoirs in hot, dry rock would be necessary for superhot rock energy systems.
However, the paper states that they are “engineering problems, not essential scientific discoveries.” The document goes into further depth regarding how extremely heated rocks produce more energy. This is due to the fact that as the injected water passes through the subsurface rocks, it changes into a superhot, superfluid form that scientists refer to as “supercritical” water.
The study states that supercritical water “can penetrate fractures faster and more easily and can speed significantly more energy per well to the surface—approximately five to ten times the energy produced by today’s commercial geothermal wells or expected for lower-temperature designed wells.”
“This means that a few superhot rock wells can transport significant commercial energy to the surface.”
The first test was carried out by the Clean Air Task Force close to an Icelandic volcano where the ‘Krafla’ borehole of the Iceland Deep Drilling Project produced naturally super hot water at 845°F and had an estimated 36 megawatts of energy production potential.
In a report on a potential breakthrough that was just released, the Clean Air Task Force noted that the deepest borehole that had ever been dug was only eight miles deep. To obtain this pure energy, it is intended to be possible to drill virtually anywhere.
The 400 million-year-old granites in New Hampshire and the half-billion-year-old granites in Maine feature ancient tectonic fissures that researchers at FORGE Utah are trying methods to inject water through.
The problem of being able to drill deep enough to access superhot rocks anyplace on land still exists.
The Kola Peninsula of Russia’s deepest well ever dug in crystalline hard rock was little under eight miles deep when it was finished in the 1970s.
This was in rock, though, and at much lower temperatures. Large mechanical drilling rigs that are currently on the market are being utilized to drill in relatively shallow superhot rock to depths of two to four miles.
In order to drill and broadly deploy superhot rock, it will be necessary to develop novel technologies that can efficiently access superhot resources in hard crystalline rock at depths of up to or beyond nine miles. According to the report, the Clean Air Task Force.