Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Clean Power

Using CO2 to Extract Geothermal Energy

As part of developing new energy resources that don’t emit carbon dioxide, the DOE is funding 9 trials that use supercritical CO2 to extract more geothermal energy.


The idea started in 2000 at Los Alamos National Laboratory; when physicist Donald Brown thought of pumping geothermal fluid using supercritical CO2 – a pressurized form that is part gas, part liquid; instead of water.  Theoretically this should flow more freely through rock than water, because it is less viscous than water.

Then, six years later; in modeling the technology Lawrence Berkeley hydro-geologist Karsten Pruess projected that not only should it perform as expected but that it would also yield a 50% hotter geothermal resource.

Now the DOE is funding this promising research with $16 million in nine trials to see if this will work in the real world.

The funding is to be shared by nine carbon dioxide-related projects led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and other national labs and universities, and the Californian combinatorial chemistry firm Symyx Technologies that screens about a million potential materials a year using advanced computer modeling.

Brown’s idea was that the density difference between the supercritical CO2 pumped down and the hotter gas coming up would make the gas cycle better by a siphoning action, so the pumping process would use less energy.

Symyx project leader and materials scientist Miroslav Petro wants to make sure that supercritical carbon dioxide plays nicely with rock and minerals. It could form a super-dissolving “acidic soda water” that dissolves minerals from rocks.

Sequestering the carbon would be the big bonus. It could be a large amount: 70 years worth of CO2 emissions from a 500 megawatt coal power plant.

Image: HDR tutor Stuck in Customs

Source: Technology Review

Check out our brand new E-Bike Guide. If you're curious about electric bikes, this is the best place to start your e-mobility journey!
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.


You May Also Like


Wärtsilä is a 180-year old company that pivoted through technology changes leading to engines for marine power and electricity, and is now a storage...

Climate Change

Creative agencies that work with fossil fuel corporations are getting more legal scrutiny than ever. The reality is so obvious: fossil fuel companies claim...

Carbon Pricing

A cogent and precise economic analysis concludes that we not only can -- we must turn away from coal and embrace renewable energy. It...

Clean Transport

The move toward economically and socially sustainable renewable energy is being smoothed by the recent participation of trade unions. How are unions in the...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.