Imagineer’ touts geothermal energy invention
Posted by keelynet on October 20, 2009
A superior approach to geothermal and looks like it is much cheaper and longer lasting than other sources.
“Alaskan entrepreneur Bernie Karl has pioneered modern technology to tap into one of Earth’s oldest energy resources: hot water. Using imagination to fuel his engineering ambitions, this tenacious thinker and self-starter has figured out a way to generate electricity using water that’s the temperature of a cup of coffee — about 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
After acquiring the 400-acre resort, Karl began trapping water from the underground hot springs, which produce enough power to heat the facility’s greenhouses year-round. Most recently, Karl has turned his invention into a separate business by contracting with Peppermill hotel and casino in Reno, Nevada, to build a similar system there.
His portable geothermal generator units cost from $350,000 to $375,000, each with the potential to generate enough power for 250 average American homes per year. ‘Hot taps’ – His energy-generating machine lies on a flatbed truck and can be hooked up to oil and gas wells or other heat-emitting sources to generate electricity. Karl adds a branch connection to an oil or gas pipeline, and the process begins when he “hot taps” into waste water coming through the pipes.
The hot water enters the tubes of an evaporator encased in a common refrigerant found in many air conditioning systems. As the hot water passes through the evaporator, it begins to boil the refrigerant in the casing surrounding the tubes.
The heat given off by the boiling refrigerant then causes an attached turbine to spin, which jump-starts a generator, producing electrical power. Next, cooling water enters from another source, recondensing the vapor refrigerant into a liquid. A pump pushes the liquid refrigerant back to the evaporator, so the cycle can start again.
The difference in temperatures drives the entire “binary system.” This setup works exactly the opposite of a refrigerator. “Oil companies don’t drill wells for water, but they have some 5,000 kilowatts of geothermal power at their disposal in unused oil wells. Let’s pick the low-hanging fruit and use the wells we have for oil for geothermal power,” he said.
Citing a 2007 Massachusetts Institute of Technology study, Karl said harnessing just 2 percent of Earth’s internal energy could provide 2,000 times more energy than the entire planet currently consumes — all free of polluting greenhouse gas emissions. “Everything goes back, there is no pollution, no smokestack,” he said. “We are going to go recycle oil wells and recycle water and put it back in the ground.”
In a 2007 study, professors at MIT found that mining the huge amounts of heat that reside as stored thermal energy in the Earth’s hard rock crust could supply a substantial portion of the electricity the United States will need in the future, probably at competitive prices and with minimal environmental impact. “… if we just drill deep enough, most of the U.S. can be transformed into a huge geothermal power zone while drastically reducing the nation’s carbon footprint,” the MIT report said.” – Full Article Source
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