Climate Change

Published on April 11th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan

9

Climate, Energy Roundup (Geothermal Fracking, Oil Spills, NBA Green Week…)

April 11th, 2013 by  

Beyond our own, here’s some more top climate change & energy news from the past few days or so:

Climate Change

Oil

The Colbert Report


Other

More to add?


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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.



  • Thanks Zach, a lot of oil spill news this week….

    MrEnergyCzar

  • Otis11

    So, according to Peter Glick in that video, we need to reduce water use/loss along the Colorado River (and many others). Solution? Cover all the reservoirs behind dams and the canals bringing water to cities (such as Phoenix) with solar panels to reduce evaporation losses AND reduce the need for water for FF plants…

    As for the article on Fracking in France – Geothermal Fracking and Fracking for Hydrocarbons are not the same thing. Unless the company doing the fracking is being reckless it is not the chemicals you are pumping down well that you need to worry about, it’s the chemicals in the ground coming back up that are the issue. For various reasons you run into more of these with FF fracking… but that’s a lot to type unless someone really cares.

    • I’m curious. I haven’t studied the difference btw geothermal & NG fracking, and have a feeling it would take me a long time to find the information you could plop down here. 😀 (Also might want to copy & paste it over on that site/article.)

      • Bob_Wallace

        Read your email… ;o)

        This last year there someone had success in Oregon fracking a geothermal well using CO2 and another company created multiple fracked zones in a single well using biodegradable chemicals.

        Natural gas fracking uses some apparently very nasty stuff. Even the stuff that stays down below isn’t necessarily staying there. I saw an article not long ago about how some of the chemicals seem to be leaking upward through what was assumed to be solid rock.

      • Otis11

        It is important to note, that this is not true for every well for
        either FF or geothermal. These are simply trends and both should have environmental standards in place that they are required to meet as both can have substantial environmental and safety impacts if used indiscriminately. It is my belief, based on the data I have seen that both forms of fracking can be safe and the issue is not in the technology itself, but rather how certain companies apply this technology and the handle wastes that they produce. That being said, it is my belief that Geothermal does have an inherent advantage. Here is my reasoning:

        To start off with, the problem with fracking pollution isn’t the fracking fluid itself, but rather the substances that you release from the rock. (although that doesn’t hold true for all companies, as a technology, the fluid isn’t the problem.)

        With FF fracking, you are looking for pockets rich in “deposits.” While the deposits that you want are hydrocarbons, they also tend to have other substances in close proximity, and when these other substances are found, there’s less incentive to avoid them as they can “simply” be pumped back in to replace the oil being extracted.

        For Geothermal, you are looking for rock formations with adequate thermal energy that will allow for substantial flow. They use fracking to increase flow rates through rocks that have adequate thermals but are lacking in flow. Since these rock formations already tend to allow some flow, they also tend to lack trapped deposits. (This is not always true, but simply a trend. Just like some companies use fracking fluid that is dangerous, some companies will frack Geothermal areas with toxic deposits if allowed to, but this is not a fundamental of the technology.)

        Because of this the fluid in Geothermal tends to be significantly less hazardous than in FF extraction.

        Also, FF fracking drills, fracks, extracts and re-pressurizes the undesired fluid back into the wells. If done correctly and responsibly the only significant risk of a leak occurs during the re-pressurizing stage. (although, to my knowledge, the majority of the issues in FF extraction occur at the extraction phase because of improperly cured concrete – but that’s a rant for another time.)

        In Geothermal, there is no re-pressurizing stage. They drill, frack and circulate. Sure the circulating with pressurize brine back into the well, but these pressures are rarely (if every) in the same range as with FF re-pressurizing.

        Because of this, the brine is much less likely to contaminate any reservoirs.

        Also, since it is the same water being circulated time and again, you can actually establish a cleaning station that extracts some of the dissolved chemicals – which depending on the mixture may actually have market value. (although unlikely to be economically viable using current technology, the price of the chemicals – usually metals – can be used to offset the costs of separating them from the water.) Many think this same technology could be applied to the FF brine, but they miss a key detail – with the geothermal brine, if you clean 1% out every cycle, only 37% remains after 100 cycles and this can be done constantly until the brine hits any arbitrary limit set for safety standards. For the FF brine – you only use it once, or a very limited number of times, so while you can filter it multiple times, this doesn’t give any advantage. You have to do a large scale filtration instead of small constant filtration.

        Sorry if I’m not explaining this point well, but basically it’s the same reason why only part of our blood goes through our kidneys each cycle instead of pumping it all through every time. It’s more efficient to do it in small increments that constantly improve quality than to have to fix the problem all at once.

        Because of this, the brine can be filtered to meet just about any arbitrary limit.

        So in summary, Geothermal has the advantage that it’s brine is inherently less hazardous, it is handled at lower pressures and inherently less likely to contaminate other underground reservoirs and it can be filtered to meet specified limits with minimal impact on the economics of the operation.

      • Otis11

        710 words… does that count as an article? =-P

        • actually, since you bring it up, if you want to reword it slightly for an article format, i think that would be a very useful article for a lot of people. would get on a lot more eyes. please, stick it in there. 😀

          • Otis11

            Haha, well if you want to take it, go for it. But it needs to have stats to back it up, cuz I can promise someone is going to attempt to rip it apart. While I stand by my post, I do not have stats I can publish on that.

            The earliest I’d have time to look up the numbers is over a week away at best, otherwise I’d be happy to run with it.

          • no problem, whenever you’ve got the time. 😀

            (and can decline if you wish.)

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