Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 29, 2015

Renewable Fracking?

From Energy Department - EERE

From Energy Department – EERE video

The Energy Department is spending $31 million to move forward with hydraulic fracturing to produce electricity from rocks.

Geothermal electric generation has traditionally tapped deep underground reservoirs of water that are heated by the earth. Hot pressurized water is brought to the surface where it turns to steam that can generate electricity. But there are a limited number of locations with such reservoirs.

Using similar processes that petroleum producers use to release oil and gas from tight formations, the department is researching methods of creating fracture networks to make underground reservoirs where there were none, drastically increasing the areas where geothermal power could be profitable.

The money will establish a laboratory that will be “a first-of-its-kind effort to accelerate development of this innovative geothermal technology that could help power our low carbon future,” Dave Danielson, assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, said in a statement.

“This field observatory will facilitate the development of rigorous and reproducible approaches that could drive down the cost of geothermal energy and further diversify our nation’s energy portfolio,” he said. The department estimates the eventual potential of enhanced geothermal to be 100 gigawatts, in the same ballpark as the currently capacity of existing nuclear or hydroelectric plants.

A description of the reservoir creation process from the department:

Drill an injection well into hot rock with limited fluid content and/or permeability.

Inject water at sufficient pressure to create a fracture network.

Continue operation until there is enough fractured volume to create a reservoir.

Drill a production well into the fracture network, intersecting the created flow paths.

The resulting circulation loop allows water to flow through the enhanced reservoir, picking up in situ heat. The hot water is then pumped to the surface through the production well.


Also see:

More Money for Geothermal Fracking

Fracking Better


Comments (53)

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  1. wunderHof

    July 18, 2014
    1:35 p.m.

    H-m-m-m. If the goal of the no-carbon project is to avoid increasing atmospheric temperatures, the DOE has overlooked that this project will extract energy from underground and then release most of it into the air as a second order process, just as other mined/extracted things do.


    July 19, 2014
    10:05 p.m.

    the government seems to have forgotten all about the three million unemployed families that are still without an unemployment extension since late last December. while the congress approved billions of dollars for the Ukraine, and approved the Koch brothers oil pipeline bill, the unemployment extension bill was refused passage by the republican senate. both political parties have failed these unemployed families, and left them in financial ruin and deep poverty

  3. rgpope

    July 26, 2014
    3:14 a.m.

    Excuse me? This process is essentially a “closed loop”: the water used in the heat transfer process is pumped back down to the fractures and re-heated. There is, of course, some heat rejection to the atmosphere by the power generation equipment at the surface, but nowhere near the heat generated by a fossil fuel burning prime power plant. Zero carbon dioxide.

  4. alejandrayalanbowman

    July 27, 2014
    3:08 a.m.

    and the potential for contaminating drinking water supply?

  5. wunderHof

    July 27, 2014
    10:55 a.m.

    Conservation of energy, heat from the deep is released ultimately into the troposphere. Where do you think it goes? Electricity from the power generated by the geothermal gives energy to all electrical things, lights, A/C, microwaves, TV. The output of these, except for a tiny fraction of visible light that escapes into space, is transduced into troposphere heat. Better than fossils but not as good as solar.

  6. wunderHof

    July 27, 2014
    10:57 a.m.

    Dems control the Senate, oil pipelines are privately funded

  7. rgpope

    July 27, 2014
    11:32 a.m.

    “Electricity from power generated by geothermal energy gives energy to all electrical things….” Umm…so lights, A/C, microwaves, TVs powered by solar energy will not transduce heat into the troposphere?

  8. wunderHof

    July 27, 2014
    5:40 p.m.

    since the solar cells convert solar radiation that would otherwise fall upon the earth, there’s no net energy gain from the solar cells

  9. rgpope

    July 28, 2014
    3:19 a.m.

    You have a point, there. Solar on its own, however, cannot completely replace other forms of energy. It only works when the sun is shining; storing the currrent produced during the day for use at night requires batteries and inverters. Of course, we can cycle fossil fuel plants down during the day, and bring them back up once darkness falls. This is being done now, so it’s just a matter of scale that prevents solar from contributing significantly to the production of electricity. In the end, batteries, inverters, and solar panels wear out, and become hazmat. Pollution from the production of electricity is inevitable; it can be immediate, as in fossil fuel plants, or delayed, as in the retirement of solar panels. The only way to eliminate pollution from the production of electricity is to stop using it, not something likely to happen voluntarily.

  10. ceithor

    July 29, 2014
    1:15 p.m.

    The Republicans killed the unemployment extension.

  11. Jdg Jdg

    July 30, 2014
    10:34 a.m.

    you can’t teach liberals facts, don’t try. also, according to Oblamo band dems there are no more unemployed, Obama solved that I thought, so why do they need unemployment?

  12. Guest

    July 30, 2014
    11:02 a.m.

    woehahahahhaha, the reps are destroying the middle class and you support it

  13. Ivan Rysheuvels

    July 30, 2014
    11:09 a.m.

    Solar is cleaner on the long run. Even with storage of those very polluting batteries etc. it doesn’t add up to pollution caused by fossil energy. Solar energy doesn’t cause that terrible air pollution and doesn’t destroy the ozon layer like fossil energy, it still affects, but in a lesser %. And last but not least, an independence from petrol will bring the needed changes to the middle east. A lot less dough for governments that support fundamentalistic muslims.

  14. rgpope

    July 30, 2014
    4:31 p.m.

    I wish I could agree with your last sentence, but, as we say in the south, “That dog won’t hunt”. Nothing to date has deterred these ideologues in their pursuit of the islamist world.

  15. Glen

    July 30, 2014
    4:54 p.m.

    How do you contaminate the drinking water supply with water/

  16. Enviro Equipment, Inc.

    July 30, 2014
    5:57 p.m.

    OMG. Mention the word “Fracking” and all of a sudden every radical environmentalist assumes that it’s going to hurt the environment or that the Koch brothers will somehow make trillions off of it. Read the article. It’s a safe, non-toxic form of renewable energy. That’s why the Department of Energy is going to fund this experiment.

  17. Arie Beuker, de

    July 31, 2014
    6:54 a.m.

    If that department is funding it is nice, but that does not guarantee it is safe.
    It is all about finances and interests.

  18. fuzzball

    Aug. 1, 2014
    5:01 a.m.

    No kidding, and they will kill this idea too because they will call it “socialist” One thing the GOP is, is the most anti-American organization in the world, they are ingrown not outsiders who despise the Constitution, freedom, HATE religious freedom, In fact if you look at their agenda is is very similar to Islamic fanatics it is frightening. They have even signed pledges of allegiance to an Islamic sympathizer, Norguist.. They wish to kill or enslave the poor, create a religious dictatorship, establish an elitist aristocracy, force the middle class into oblivion, destroy schools. Educated people are a threat to the Tea Party and the GOP. Why do you think Gov Perry of Texas cut $5 billion, that with a “b” for the unenlightened GOP, from the education funding? The dumb are easier to manipulate.

  19. TruthSeeka TSA

    Aug. 2, 2014
    8:33 a.m.

    That is fracking awesome. More contaminated water.

  20. rarriagaz

    Aug. 2, 2014
    3:53 p.m.

    Sounds like another group of educated idiots has found another way to make more money while destroying some more of our limited potable water resources. I wonder how many of our representatives are lining up to receive a payoff from the lobbyist representing those that will reap the most from this cluster fugg?

  21. rarriagaz

    Aug. 2, 2014
    3:55 p.m.

    And their counterparts the Conservatives are so dense that they don’t understand anything unless it has a dollar sign on it showing how much profit they will make on the misfortune of others.

  22. rarriagaz

    Aug. 2, 2014
    3:57 p.m.

    100% But just think of all the bribes the politicians will receive and how much money those bribing them will make. In American it is not people but the dollar sign that makes things go round.

  23. rarriagaz

    Aug. 2, 2014
    3:58 p.m.

    With the contaminants in the water supplied.

  24. rarriagaz

    Aug. 2, 2014
    4:02 p.m.

    You have that wrong it is not in their pursuit of the Islamist world. It is the ideologues in pursuit of money.

  25. rarriagaz

    Aug. 2, 2014
    4:04 p.m.

    When you have killed all the animals, fish, and birds and contaminated all the water and killed all of the plant life. Then you will learn that you cannot drink or eat money. I must be a radical environmentalist to want to preserve our world for future generations. Even yours.

  26. Sergio Teixeira

    Aug. 3, 2014
    11:09 a.m.

    well usa can buy oil from Putin gas from GASPROM and al are happy, …Russia just reopen their CUBA base…
    fracking is the worst trouble…. l

  27. Trevor K

    Aug. 5, 2014
    8:51 a.m.

    ….. and 20 years from know someone notices that this is a hole bunch
    of nonsense and the impact on the environment because of this is more
    severe than what was said, weird how people think.

  28. Thomas

    Aug. 6, 2014
    4:07 p.m.

    Yes because gas and oil is more important as fresh water. What will be in 30 or 40 years? Do you wanna hope the oil problem will be solved until this and start to pay a fortune on desalination of ocean water because some diots could done a fast buck and convervative merricuns could fill up cheap there house sized cars that needs so much gas like a saturn rocket?
    Rethink, we need more energy-saving and green energy’s. This will also create jobs, more as enough the only disadvantage would be that the 1% finance margin will may may just be 150-200 and not 2000%

  29. LiveNLetLive

    Aug. 7, 2014
    1:15 p.m.

    The deep hotwater deposits are typically ancient sea water further contaminated from long term exposure to hot minerals. This is not potable water. Further the water can be recirculated.

    You have been listening to too many delusional hysteria industry peddlers. Follow the money, and for the idiots the big money is in selling hysteria to the great unwashed.

  30. disqus_L6LXsfln2F

    Aug. 14, 2014
    3:26 p.m.

    I wonder what farmers and us economy fairs when Eu stops purchase Products contaminated by chemicals.
    New York water supply is unfit for human consumption.
    in 200 years You have destroyed US environment in another 100 years us Will be a barren wasteland unable to support life when will Us realize they need to safeguard future Living for their citizens.
    I’m from Sweden try to learn something from other or simply ask for help before you use unknown tech for you.
    Ever Heard of Kyoto agreement ? that’s the reason some off this tech is forbidden in EU

  31. Buster000

    Sept. 1, 2014
    4:11 a.m.

    Not to worry. Those three million unemployed families are being replaced with eleven plus million illegal aliens and their families, who are willing to work for the government subsidized handout of food and shelter alone. Let the party continue. After all, its being paid for by the taxpayer’s dime.

  32. rarriagaz

    Sept. 7, 2014
    4:48 a.m.

    If it was only the deep hot water deposits were the only water deposits being affected. However that is not the case. In Texas where fracking, which is what fracturing the underground formations in an effort to produce more hydrocarbons, only affected the hot water deposits that you state. However, that is not the case. The oilfield companies are tapping into the aquifers which are the lifeblood of Texas. It is the really only viable water source available in this area. Because of the hydrostatic nature of water it an its contaminants do not stay a one depth. They flow with the contours of the formations. Once those impervious formations that divide the hydrocarbons from the water sands are fractured, it results in contamination of the water sands. another name for aquifers. With the fact that the chemicals employed by the fracking industry being extremely toxic cancer causing agents. There is no defensible position. Look at the polluted aquifers in Wyoming. The EPA stated,” Fluids used to drill for natural gas
    likely polluted an aquifer in Wyoming, U.S. regulators said on
    Thursday, offering the first evidence since 1987 that chemicals used in
    fracking have contaminated drinking water supplies. So how can you justify your position. When the EPA has confirmed the contamination. The bad part, once contaminated there is no way to clean up the water and make the aquifer safe to drink.

  33. LiveNLetLive

    Sept. 7, 2014
    6:16 p.m.

    First you fail to take into consideration that geology of geothermal energy extraction is considerably different that that of the hydrocarbon extraction.
    Second, the EPA study in Wyoming was so flawed that it has been withdrawn.
    Third a properly designed frac does not leave the productive horizon. Fracing out of zone risks watering out and ruining the well.
    Fourth, the pollution you decrying in Texas comes from improperly designed and maintained well dating from the 20s to 60s. Well before high pressure fracing became technically feasible.
    The fact that you use the word “fracking” is proof you get your information from an uniformed or politically motivated press.
    There is no “K” in fracturing which is the source word of “fracing”.

  34. rarriagaz

    Sept. 7, 2014
    7:36 p.m.

    So, just because my misspelling of the work fracing I am not able to understand what it represents. Gee how sanctimonious. Here is a saying that you can only dispute if you have no decency. When, all the waters are polluted, and all the plants and animals have been destroyed, is that when you will realize that you cannot eat money?

  35. rarriagaz

    Sept. 7, 2014
    7:40 p.m.

    By the way, i worked in the oilfield for many years. It provided for my family. I also observed the disregard that company men had for the environment. It was all about the money. Their comment heard more than once, “Let the future generations worry about the environment. I don’t give a damn, let’s make as much money as we can while we can.

  36. LiveNLetLive

    Sept. 7, 2014
    7:40 p.m.

    No, I am saying if your sources of propaganda are unreliable you should get new sources.

  37. LiveNLetLive

    Sept. 7, 2014
    8:11 p.m.

    There are bad actors, but most of the industry does a good job of taking care of details. The company engineers I know are more focused on the end of the month. Costs in line with budget, revenues above target, zero spills, zero releases, zero accidents, zero violations, zero citations. One of them found an endangered lizard on a location under construction. He shut down operations and got the BLM Biologist out. The well was delayed by a year, but when it was drilled it was in compliance with the law and that engineer ended the month with zero take of endangered lizards.

    Fracing can be done safely. We know how to do it safely, most of the industry really wants to do it safely and the bad actors do not want to do the things you cited because it would ruin their well. The biggest risk is proper disposal of spent frac fluids and even those are being cleaned up and recycled to control costs.

    Like I said, you need better sources.

  38. Freemon Sandlewould

    Sept. 22, 2014
    11:57 p.m.

    Moronic libtards can’t face facts.

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