Everyone with internet connection knows Google and use at least one of its services. How many of you know google.org, an organization which spends millions of dollars in research and funding. They characterize it as a technology-driven philanthropy. One of the projects of google.org is the Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) and a new study about EGS was conducted by SMU Geothermal Laboratory. EGS produces electricity by exploiting the heat and energy from hot rock beneath the surface of the earth. From the data they gathered, they estimate that with EGS they can generate about 3.000.000 megawatts for the continental U.S.

According to SMU, in areas with little or no volcanism or tectonic activity there are other geothermal methods that can be used.

  • Low Temperature Hydrothermal. This method is already used in Alaska, Utah, Oregon and Idaho and it produces energy from areas with high fluid volumes at temperatures between less than 100°C (boiling) and 150°C.
  •  Geopressure and Coproduced Fluids Geothermal. With this method, electricity is produced by drawing hot geothermal fluids. In addition natural gas and/or oil are produced at the same time. They are taking advantage of this method in Utah, Louisiana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Mississippi and Texas.
  • Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS). Both previous methods were based on high fluid volumes. This method is used when we don’t have those volumes but we have high temperatures, more than 150°C. Those areas are injected with fluid and other techniques. EGS has deeper resources and it can support high-capacity power plants.

How EGS works video

A Sketch-Up model for Enhanced Geothermal System that shows how it works.

Sources: [google.org] [SMU]

Google.Org – Enhanced Geothermal Systems