Energy alternatives posts on two alternative energy projects taking place in Australia testing hot rock and wave power technologies. My uncle informed me over Christmas that he has shares in a hot rock company and it sounds like a fascinating approach that, as I understand it, extends existing oil drilling technology for a new, more sustainable, purpose.

  • Received this via email from Matthew S and thought it worth sharing:

    Something to keep in mind when dealing with extracting any energy source for the creation of electricity, is that the earth is a closed loop. We still have little understanding on how it interacts. That in mind it reminded me of an interesting documentary I saw some time ago. It was in regards to New Zealanders harnessing thermal energy to heat there homes.

    As New Zealand is volcanicaly acitave, a large number of homes on the north island pump water underground to heat it then they heat New Zealand houses. This was considered free, clean, safe, and would have no effect on the environment. They were wrong. With the continuing increase in the heat and or water from boars been extracted from the earth it actually started to cool the surrounding rock. This then caused well know mud pools and guizers to stop. Due to the tourist value of these natural wonders. A large number of housing systems were shut down. In a mater of months the inactive sites returned to there previous states. Now the number of sinks are controlled by the government.

    So again, what we see is that even when were trying to be clean. We still stuff things up.

    Whilst it is ok to think of using wave energy, wind energy, heat pumps, even hydrogen and so on. We must keep in mind that none of them are magic bullets. You can bet you bottom dollar that if we shifted to say wave power we would effect tidal energy in some way . Maybe only locally or potentially globally, and in turn could kill and change numerus aquatic environments.

    Balance is the key .. But I must say that I am too stupid to recommend how that balance should be dived up. ( Like an argument I read on PETA. Don’t use wool its cruel to animals. Use cotton (only one of the most environmentally damaging products) or synthetic fibre (That produces huge amounts of toxic waste and maintains large numbers of people working in almost slave conditions whilst continuing to increase USA chemical profits.)

    Balance. I think all things we do, need to be looked at as cause and effect. You do this or take this a way. We still need it. So what now, do I degrade or kill now something or someone else. We in the end ( the Human race ) will pay the price. The Earth and its inhabitants have survived much worse. Lets face it the earth doesn’t care if we live or die, nor do the animals in it. Everything we do we do for our selves.. If we don’t improve, we stand a good chance of just fading away, we just need balance. Sooner or later we will .. I hope. 🙂

    I have always said. Just look at humans as a huge ongoing natural disaster. We will forever be cleaning up after ours selves. :o)

    On a side note, you may want to read a bit about helium-3 and the future of mining the moon for it. It has some huge potentials for fusion reactors.

    It’s interesting. When I first heard my uncle explain the concept of hot rock I thought to myself – even that’s not limitless. How long until the energy transferred from the earth is going to cause problems? After all – energy is transferred – it doesn’t just magically appear from the center of the earth.

    Now, I thought I was naive in that thought. I thought that perhaps that the overall energy dissipation wouldn’t be high enough to cause problems. Perhaps the companies involved have worked through this already and determined what is “safe” etc. But… the question still remains in my head.

    What’s interesting is the parallels with the NZ experience. Something to look into further. I keep meaning to ask one of the climate change folks here to get their opinion. I should do that soon…

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