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« When did Quakers turn bad? | Main | The BBC's misinformation box »
Friday
Mar062015

FoE in support for fracking shock

After years of campaigning against fracking, Friends of the Earth Scotland have made an extraordinary u-turn and are now vigorously campaigning in favour of the controversial* technique.

This shock news comes to us via the Scottish Government who have announced a £250,000 fund to accelerate development of geothermal energy in Scotland. The press release includes a statement from the minister involved Friends of the Earth's Richard Dixon:

Heating is our biggest source of climate emissions and geothermal energy can play a major part in replacing fossil-fuelled heating. We already know that there is potential to deploy geothermal energy on a very wide scale in Scotland This new funding is very welcome and will help good proposals get moving and attract further investment. Different techniques will have different impacts but geothermal energy is clearly worth serious investigation, and it is great that the Scottish Government is taking the lead in making this happen.

Now as readers at BH may well know, geothermal energy in Scotland involves extracting water heated by geothermal energy from old coal workings and the technique involves fracking the coal seams so that the water gets heated up as much as possible. With Friends of the Earth now in favour of fracking, it can't be long before Cuadrilla and iGas get the go-ahead.

*© BBC

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Reader Comments (94)

With Friends of the Earth now in favour of fracking, it can't be long before Cuadrilla and iGas get the go-ahead.
Ever come across the phrase "cognitive dissonance", by any chance?

Mar 6, 2015 at 11:30 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

No! There will be no change in FOE's view of shale exploitation.

This is good fracking since it is geothermal. Shale fracking is evil and leads to earthquakes, water contamination, pollution, drought, floods, malaria, pestilence etc.

Mar 6, 2015 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

The significant difference between geothermal fracking and shale gas fracking, is that water-use in the former is closed-loop, and consequently a significantly lower volume.

Mar 6, 2015 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Of course fracking geothermal heat is no more renewable than hydrocarbon extraction, but that won't worry them either. If they are honest with themselves they will acknowledge that the heat is irreplaceable or that it is generated from natural radioactivity. TBH, I suspect most of their supporters have never thought to ask how that heat got there in the first place.

Mar 6, 2015 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

FoE has figured out how to get tax payer money into their pockets by way of geothermal.

michael hart, your fallacy regarding FoE is found in the sentence that includes, "if they were honest".

Mar 6, 2015 at 12:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Alas they don't seem to know that this type of heating will last 40 years max because the press-release says it is "self-sustaining". So it seem they are getting mixed up with the different types of geothermal energy and it isn't about greens being honest with themselves as Michael Hart asserts above - it is once again about being basely ignorant on this issue as in so many others.

Mar 6, 2015 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

The FoE man spouting on the OU Fracking course was definitely an anti !

Mar 6, 2015 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

Joe Public, that's an interesting observation, do you have a reference for it. My understanding was that water is only used in shale gas fracking during the opening up of the well but not during the long gas extraction phase.

Mar 6, 2015 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Dent

Hi Arthur

Geothermal is closed loop:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-15523635

Shale-gas fracking isn't:


http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2015/1/29/diluting-the-truth.html

Mar 6, 2015 at 12:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

I'm not sure this fund has anything to do with Enhanced Geothermal Systems (where fracking is used) to generate high temperature systems for power generation. He's talking about ground water and water in abandoned mines, the two examples (Glenalmond Street, Shettleston, and Lumphinnans, Fife, which use water from disused mines to provide the heat for members of the local community) are binary systems (i.e. relatively shallow and not fracked compared to EGS). He's talking about Heating rather than power generation... "Heating is our biggest source of climate emissions and geothermal energy can play a major part in replacing fossil-fuelled heating"

If you look at the Deep Geothermal Review Final Report they're talking about....

"In non-volcanic regions, generating power from deep geothermal resource has typically centred on binary
systems at lower temperatures or the development of Enhanced Geothermal System technologies (EGS) at
higher temperatures. EGS may require the use of stimulation such as hydraulic fracturing to produce a
subterranean reservoir to enable a sufficient flow of water. Binary systems are already established
technologies. However, the technological challenges, risks and uncertainties surrounding deep geothermal
EGS technologies mean that there has been only limited development to date. There are no deep
geothermal power plants currently in the UK....

In addition to hot crystalline rocks such as radiothermal granites, there is also potential in the UK, albeit more
limited, from geothermal heat present in deep sedimentary basins. Generally such sources are of lower
thermal energy and therefore have potential for heat or combined heat and power rather than power
generation exclusively. With innovations in the use of working fluids with lower boiling points these lower
thermal energy resources may prove of increasing interest as a feasible power generating potential reserve.
Recent reports suggest that in certain regions of the UK the particular granite geology would be less reliant
on stimulation techniques as natural fissures and fractures potentially exist in the hot granite rock. These
fractures could potentially be used, greatly reducing the risk of not being able to create a sufficiently
permeable reservoir.
DECC wish to undertake further analyses to better understand the potential benefits and opportunities for
power generation from deep geothermal technologies in the UK and to ensure that benefit is derived from
any future investment decisions. This study isin response to DECC’s wishes to further their understanding
and focuses solely on geothermal energy for power generation, although includes heat re-use as a by-product.
It is important to note from the outset that the remit for this study and report is focussed on power
generation (i.e. the production of electricity), and not heat supply. However combined heat and power
system schemes have been considered in order to provide a viable business case."

I'm presuming Scotland has a "particular granite geology" which would be less reliable on "enhanced techniques"?

I'm no expert by a long shot, I've been looking at installing Geothermal heating via an open loop system. The headline figure of £250k looks a suspiciously similar ammount to the next tranch of funding soon to be available in England early this year. I recently read a piece on this funding (paraphrasing as I can't find the article) "it's so oversubscribed you'll have to be quick, applications closed within weeks in the last realease of funding"

When I read the OP I figured the £250k for Scotland equals Englands pot, which was already earmarked, I cynically think the Scottish headline is just political spin on something already earmarked too.

link to that review I mentioned...
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/251943/Deep_Geothermal_Review_Study_Final_Report_Final.pdf

Mar 6, 2015 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

From what I have read from fracking companies websites over the last few years, describing the process in some detail, at least 95% of the water used is recyclable in any case, so although a lot of water is indeed used, it suggests that it only needs replenishing by 5%, not 100%. I also understand that the claim by greenalists that 100s of different chemicals are used is somewhat misleading, (no change there then!). The chemicals used are few in number only, & are often the same chemical in every drilling process, but commercially known by different nomenclature, thus appreaing to increase the number of chemicals used when that is in reality not the case!

Mar 6, 2015 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Apart from places like Iceland (the country, not the frozen food shop) where geothermal energy does spew from the ground, is there anywhere that the technology works, without susidies?

Does FoE support for geothermal indicate that wind and solar are non starters?

Mar 6, 2015 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

If you called it "Natural biologically processed & excreted organic food" ... they'd eat up anything.

Mar 6, 2015 at 1:17 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Michael Hart says: "I suspect most of their supporters have never thought to ask how that heat got there in the first place."

Of course, it all due to Algore's millions of degrees C in the centre of the earth leaking out.

Mar 6, 2015 at 1:22 PM | Registered Commenterdavidchappell

So - this is basically the same as the proposal at The Eden Project in Cornwall - the one for which the BBC did a lovely graphic of the process, entirely missing the point that it is as near as makes no difference identical to 'the contraversial process known as fracking'....
I note that the Eden Project is drilling into granite - with no reference whatsoever as to what they propose to do about the radon gas which will be released....

Mar 6, 2015 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Water consumption for shale-gas fracking.

It is possible to recycle some of the water, but the process still requires great volumes.

In the US, (used) flowback water was/could be stored in open ponds, but that presented problems for wildlife, and ran the risk of leakage.

In the UK, flowback water must be contained in steel tanks.

https://ugc.futurelearn.com/uploads/files/5d/52/5d528ed6-758a-4b32-bfef-6c5e1cb9ee0d/Water_Consumption_and_Shale_Gas_-_Video_Transcript.pdf

Also useful is the link below which uses a realistic graphic, unlike the BBC's deliberately misleading 'explanatory' graphic.

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/shale-gas/steps/25415/progress

Mar 6, 2015 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Joe Public you be amazed how often there is in the UK 'no shortage of water ' , meanwhile how do you think they drill in the first place, just because its geothermal does not mean they use 'fairy dust'

Mar 6, 2015 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Joe Public you be amazed how often there is in the UK 'no shortage of water ' , meanwhile how do you think they drill in the first place, just because its geothermal does not mean they use 'fairy dust'

Mar 6, 2015 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

I'm feeling slightly mis-represented in the Update. My original point (see @hypocentre twitter timeline) was that the original article refers to extracting warm water from the voids created by former mine workings - nothing to do with fracking. The update refers to comments made in response to links sent in reply to my first twitter reply.

Mar 6, 2015 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan Stimpson

I think Joe Public is regurgitating green propaganda, exactly as the public are trained to.

The BBC demonstrates that State education does not finish when you leave school.

Mar 6, 2015 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

A real geothermal well. Notice that the brine aquifer of hot water it pumped to the surface, through a heat exchanger, before being discharged into Southampton Water. No closed loop there, and no sign of water treatment either...

In spite of the moderate, rather than high temperature, the hot brine could be used at Southampton to provide geothermal energery for central heating. The heat has been used to some extent for local buildings, such as Southampton Civic Centre, West Quay Centre and the Royal South Hants Hospital. The brine is brought to the surface by stainless steel, downhole electric pumps. It is not only saturated for sodium chloride and therefore corrosive, but it also contains very small quantities of undesirable trace elements, heavy metals. The brine is thus not usable directly for central heating but is processed through stainless-steel heat-exchangers before being discharged into Southampton Water (ideally there should be another borehole into which the used brine is discharged downwards, but there is not another borehole at Southampton). Thus, the hot brine can usefully provide geothermal energy, but it is a complex matter and is not cheap or easily. In practice the geothermal energy is used in combination with heat from fossil fuel sources at the power station near the West Quay Centre (note the conspicuously red building).

Pumping is from a downhole turbo pump at about 600m., and at about the level of the Gault and the Lower Greensand. The geothermal aquifer is the Sherwood Sandstone which is much deeper ranging from 1729m. to 1767m. Thus the brine is rising under hydrostatic pressure for about two/thirds of the height, and is pumped up for the last part.

The pumping scheme is explained in basic form in a large colour poster, kindly provided by Utilicom and Southampton Corporation. At the well head, shown above, there is an electrical pump which forces a certain proportion of the brine back down a central pipe so as to provide motive power for the downhole turbo pump. This long, narrow, fluid-driven turbine is fairly deep in the borehole and it pumps the hot brine up an outer concentric pipe to the surface (together with the recycled brine used for the power to drive it). The equipment has to be made of stainless steel to avoid corrosion from the brine.

A ?fracking? rig in central Southampton??? Note the lack of soundproofing...

Look at us now Babies 'R Us in geothermals....

In addition to the Marchwood Borehole, there is another deep borehole nearby which provides useful information on the geological succession and lithologies. It has [also] provided information relevant to petroleum exploration in addition to its primary purpose in providing geothermal energy and data on geothermal prospects. This well is the Southampton No.1 Geothermal Borehole. It was drilled the year after the Marchwood No.1 Geothermal Well so that this was the second borehole in the area for geothermal energy. The location is Western Esplanade and the well-head is easily seen by parking in the car park of Toys-R-Us and Babies-R-Us, northwest of the West Quay Centre, Southampton.

Mar 6, 2015 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Perhaps I should add that the Southampton location is 200 yds from Southampton Central Station, and the project has been heavily promoted by Dr Whitehead, Labour MP (former councillor) and prominent member of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee.

Mar 6, 2015 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Joe public

Geothermal is closed loop:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-15523635
Shale-gas fracking isn't:
http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2015/1/29/diluting-the-truth.html

No doubt about it Golf Charlie, Joe Public is indulging in disinformation, aka bollocks.

Water is used in all significant drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations. For gas, the drilling fluid is removed and the the gas is allowed to flow. For any geothermal operation, after the drilling fluid has been removed, it has to be replaced by more water as the working fluid. QED, bollocks.

Don't forget kiddies, circulating water through fractured hot granite is certain to bring up radon gas and particulate radioactive potassium. We've all been told that that nuclear is certain death if not worse.

Mar 6, 2015 at 2:52 PM | Registered CommenterHector Pascal

I should have made explicit my source: Ian West's seminal pages on the geology of the South of England, and its development in hydrocarbon and geothermal terms.

Mar 6, 2015 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

"Heating is our biggest source of climate emissions"...
Does anyone know what 'climate emissions' are?

Mar 6, 2015 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterAl Grimaldi

All drilling uses and recycles water. It's economic sense for a start. A common exception, strangely enough, is geothermal, since you are drilling for losses - looking for existing subterranean fractures , many many times bigger than tight shale fractures.

When you hit those, you lose all your fluid and can only lubricate the drill string by pumping massive amounts of fresh water downhole, which you will never recover. So Joe's got it almost completely arse about. Not really his fault - I've been as brief and generalised as I can be about a complex subject the public is pretty ignorant about, making them easy targets for Green propaganda.

Mar 6, 2015 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

Sometimes the Guardian can be the best source of information:
The water industry is burying a leaking pipes scandal
"And recorded losses today [May 2012] are marginally high[er] than they were a decade ago – about 3.4 billion litres [around 750 million gallons] a day."
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/may/08/water-industry-pipes-scandal

That is per DAY!

As fracced wells need around 5m galls, if 10% of this leaked water was not wasted, that would be enough water for 15 wells/day, and that is without any recycling.

There would be liasion with the water companies, so it is not as if a fracced well would affect the water supply of current consumers.

Mar 6, 2015 at 3:14 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Ian Stimpson, I don't use twitter, but when you say that you have been misrepresented in the original article could you elaborate please?

If you think that someone is misrepresenting your professional advice, for their own political beliefs, say so.

The Green Blob are accused of selecting their advice, to suit their purposes, which I think is what this thread was highlighting.

Mar 6, 2015 at 3:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Just for good measure:

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-03/does-geothermal-power-cause-earthquakes

"On December 8, 2006, Markus Häring caused some 30 earthquakes -- the largest registering 3.4 on the Richter scale -- in Basel, Switzerland. Häring is not a supervillain. He's a geologist, and he had nothing but good intentions when he injected high-pressure water into rocks three miles below the surface, attempting to generate electricity through a process called enhanced geothermal. But he produced earthquakes instead, and when seismic analysis confirmed that the quakes were centered near the drilling site, city officials charged him with $9 million worth of damage to buildings.

This geothermal drill in Switzerland was shut down after it caused 100 earthquakes in a week. Häring was acquitted last December -- it was ruled that he had not intentionally created the tremors -- but his project was nixed for good late last year following a scientific review that calculated a 15 percent chance that further drilling could spur a major earthquake causing more than $500 million in damage. The debacle is bringing enhanced-geothermal projects here in the U.S. under new scrutiny."

I'm getting the picture here; energy is green only if the faux-greens promote it, otherwise it is 'not-green'. Even if the 'green' energy causes more environmental damage, is less sustainable, produces more pollution and/or CO2, is less safe and can cause earthquakes. The only criterion then for 'green' energy seems to be that it has to cost much more than what is currently available, presumably because it will reduce economic growth in accordance with the green party manifesto.

Mar 6, 2015 at 3:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

JamesG, having investigated insurance claims for damage, it is amazing how much damage can be attributed to a single event.

A bit like the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, which undoubtably happened, but caused financial damage 100's of miles inland, once US courts decided that BP had to pay up.

Mar 6, 2015 at 3:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

JamesG:

http://frackland.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/image-of-day-induced-seismicity-in.html

Mar 6, 2015 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Grimaldi: "Does anyone know what 'climate emissions' are?" They are 'weather emissions' measured over at least 30 years.

Mar 6, 2015 at 4:03 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Aren't old coal workings close, or even in the water table (given that many flood once the pumps are turned off)?

Contrast this with shale beds- typically a good mile or so further down than the water table.

Of course there is no danger of fracking the former causing water contamination, whilst fracking the latter will - not to mention the cancers, birth defects, plagues and pestilence (according to Joe Public and his fellow greens).

Mar 6, 2015 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

Surely exploiting Geothermal energy will take the excess heat out of the earth caused by Global Warming?

Mar 6, 2015 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

Sainsburys trialling it at 15 locations. A couple just opened in Poole.

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2356731/geoscart-secures-millions-for-sainsbury-s-geothermal-rollout

Mar 6, 2015 at 5:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Schofield

The concept is bonkers in any case. Rock is an insulator not a conductor. Once the heat is extracted it would takes a very long time to reheat. If it was a conductor this reheat time would be very short. Secondly water flow along the path of least resistance. It is not going to be diverted from the path from which it has already extracted the heat from the surrounding rock. Thirdly if the rock is fractured into small pieces (fracking) it will never reheat as it is no longer in contact with hotter rock.

Mar 6, 2015 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Hamilton

There appears to be some confusion here

Here is a pdf which explains the present schemes

So it's not "geothermal" - it's "deferred solar" aka ground source heat pumps.

As I understand it actual geothermal is usually much deeper unless there are significant upwellings of hot stuff nearby (i.e. Iceland or large lumps of granite)

An interesting bit of arithmetic might be to work out how much fossil fuel would be saved by mass deployment of domestic hybrid GSHP / Cogeneration / solar schemes. My suspicion is that it'd bury photovoltaics and windmills in short order - but hey .... they're convenient totems aren't they?

Refrigerator boxes aren't anywhere near as visibly erotic for the eco loons as forests of stationary white windmills and tens of thousands of suburban shiny "me-too Squarial" photovoltaic bribery panels.

Mar 6, 2015 at 6:24 PM | Registered Commentertomo

@ Golf Charlie at 2:17 PM

"I think Joe Public is regurgitating green propaganda, exactly as the public are trained to.

The BBC demonstrates that State education does not finish when you leave school."

Would you explain your selective criticism? I provided references from both Aunty & our host; you chose to comment regarding just one.

@ Hector Pascal at 2:52

"For gas, the drilling fluid is removed and the the gas is allowed to flow. For any geothermal operation, after the drilling fluid has been removed, it has to be replaced by more water as the working fluid. QED, bollocks."

For the benefit of other BH readers, would you explain how & why drilling (sic) fluid is removed so the the (sic) gas is allowed to flow?

You fail to understand that there's no need to remove fracking fluid from a well for lighter-than-water methane to flow to the surface. In addition, the fluid already in the well reduces the quantity required for second and subsequent re-stimulations.

It seems it was your response best deserves your epithet.


@ kellydown at 3:14 PM

"When you hit those (existing subterranean fractures), you lose all your fluid and can only lubricate the drill string by pumping massive amounts of fresh water downhole, which you will never recover."

Thanks for that additional info.

(a) Won't the drillers have carried out seismic & other surveys before or during vertical drilling to detect those existing subterranean fractures?

(b) Won't undetected existing subterranean fractures be an equal risk to both shale-gas frackers and deep geothermal frackers?


@ tomo at 6:24 PM

"An interesting bit of arithmetic might be to work out how much fossil fuel would be saved by mass deployment of domestic hybrid GSHP / Cogeneration / solar schemes.."

(a) Not everyone has a home with sufficient garden space for drilling rig access, and, for the above-ground paraphenalia. Buy shares in a legal firm specialising in 'my-neighbour-stole-the-heat-from-below-my house' type claims.

(b) For co-generation, are you referring to (gas)-fired engine providing heat & power? If so, GSHP would be challenged, its delta-T is too low.

Mar 6, 2015 at 7:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Joe Public
I know I'm late to the debate, but nowhere on the BBC link does the word closed appear, far less closed loop. In fact looking at he diagram it looks like there is opportunity for
1. Water to escape into the rock and thereby into the aqifers
2. The water being circulated to pick up pollution from the layer it is passing through

Neither of these would be entertained in fracking for gar or oil.

Mar 6, 2015 at 7:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Joe Public@7:30

come back when you can grow a beard.

£250K isn't much money and this is simple municipal grandstanding and an attempt by pols + an eco loon campaign group to get some leverage on a viable (as in subsidy free at present) and quite well understood energy use technology that in a sane world wouldn't / shouldn't be any of their business.

No doubt they'll cock it up like everything else they touch.

Mar 6, 2015 at 7:56 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Apart from places like Iceland (the country, not the frozen food shop) where geothermal energy does spew from the ground, is there anywhere that the technology works, without susidies?

New Zealand has three large geothermal stations. Bits of the Western US have small ones, and have had them for quite a while. Again places where there are natural geysers.

The "earthquakes" at 3 caused by drilling for geothermal would be shrugged off in countries where earthquakes are common. Barely a ripple, and any building that was damaged would not be even close to in building code. But in places like Switzerland where buildings are made of stone and brick they can cause immense damage.

Mar 6, 2015 at 8:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterMooloo

Joe:
a) Yes. Like I said, they're essentially drilling for losses in those types of geothermal wells..
b) No. There's a reason why they frac tight shales and the clue is in the name.

Mar 6, 2015 at 10:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

Mooloo, thank you for the update on geothermal. I know Stockholm is getting into it, but I don't know how subsidy orientated it is.

I have experienced 5? consecutive days of earth tremors in Greece, in an area that had suffered major damage, like most of Greece. It was unnerving. The local Greeks were full of memories of the last 2 big quakes, within the last 55 years, and were fearful of another big one. It did not happen, then.

With some knowledge of construction, it was evident to me that there were very few buildings that predated the big 1953 quake, and those that did, churches etc, were substantially reinforced and repaired. New buildings were low rise, and reinforced concrete. The drains however were a bit of a nightmare, as they were not built to be tremor resistant!

The UK Building Regs do not take into account seismic movement, I doubt the Swiss ones do either. A tremor was recently recorded in the chalk near Winchester. Not the first time. No fracking being carried out!

Mar 6, 2015 at 11:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

@ SandyS at 7:50 PM

Deep geothermal is 'closed loop' in the sense that 'cold' water is pumped down one bore, collects heat from the deep rock and returns up the other bore. At the surface, that water runs thro' a turbine to generate 'leccy. It is then recirculated back down the 'cold bore'. Similar to the water recirculation in a radiator heating system. There are some water losses from both systems during maintenance for instance, or during replenishment of the additives.

Any 'pollutants' picked up from depth can be processed 'out' within the above-ground phase of the process.

I presume geothermal frackers use cased wells similar to shale-gas frackers, to minimise unnecessary losses & preserve the integrity of the aquifer:

https://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/uniofnottsmoocs/files/2014/12/MOOC-Image-29-815x1024.png


@ tomo at 7:56 PM

Your 6:24 comment referred to Sainsburys' GSHP; then, mentioned "mass deployment of domestic hybrid GSHP / Cogeneration / solar schemes." I pointed out the fallacy of anyone considering GSHP as a general solution for domestic use. [The clue was the use of the word 'home'.] Sentence 2 in (a) was an attempt to raise awareness of a potential problem for widespread domestic adoption of GSHP.

Maybe you should re-read your own post before slinging an insult.


@ kellydown at 10:54 PM

Thanks for the additional info.

Mar 6, 2015 at 11:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Mooloo, thank you for the update on geothermal. I know Stockholm is getting into it, but I don't know how subsidy orientated it is.

I have experienced 5? consecutive days of earth tremors in Greece, in an area that had suffered major damage, like most of Greece. It was unnerving. The local Greeks were full of memories of the last 2 big quakes, within the last 55 years, and were fearful of another big one. It did not happen, then.

With some knowledge of construction, it was evident to me that there were very few buildings that predated the big 1953 quake, and those that did, churches etc, were substantially reinforced and repaired. New buildings were low rise, and reinforced concrete. The drains however were a bit of a nightmare, as they were not built to be tremor resistant!

The UK Building Regs do not take into account seismic movement, I doubt the Swiss ones do either. A tremor was recently recorded in the chalk near Winchester. Not the first time. No fracking being carried out!

Mar 7, 2015 at 12:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Sadly this may be wishful thinking. The reality of delivering sufficient water at the right temperature at an affordable price have so far proved disappointing at other projects which were originally sold as providing everything from district heating to power generation.

For example, the Newcastle geothermal project was launched with huge fanfares but has slunk off after failing to deliver:

"A flagship green energy plan to heat Newcastle’s Science Central site and parts of the city has failed – because scientists can’t retrieve enough hot water.

"Academics had planned to use the 2km deep Newcastle borehole, which is the first ever built in a UK city centre, to heat buildings at the landmark development ...

"But the £2.1m project hasn’t worked as a viable hot water source, and the 24-acre Science Central site, which was supposed to be a shining example of sustainable energy in the North East, will instead be heated using fossil fuels in the short-term".

'Giant 2km borehole project fails to bring hot water to Newcastle businesses', Newcastle Chronicle, 28 Nov. 2014.

Mar 7, 2015 at 1:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterGordon

Gentlemen: As a US resident and a geologist, there is a plethora of information about Geothermal energy. Most geothermal energy use in the US is for heating purposes. There are plants that use geothermal fluids for power generation. As the original post says:"... geothermal energy can play a major part in replacing fossil-fuelled heating." It appears that they wee not talking about power generation per se, but heating of homes and businesses. The technology for this is fairly mature and reasonably well understood. A good source of information in readable language can be found at the website of the Oregon Institute of Technology's (OIT) Geo Heat Center (geoheat.oit.edu/bullet.htm). The OIT campus is almost entirely (if not all) heated by geothermal heating. It is worth a look.

Mar 7, 2015 at 2:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterGilbert K. Arnold

Joe Public,

I'm afraid your knowledge level is at best superficial and at worst purposefully misleading. My comments below are based on over 30 years in the energy industry with a focus on new technology development across the spectrum of conventional fossil fuels to alternative energy.

There is no guarantee that a closed loop enhanced hot rock geothermal well will return water. Some production wells have never achieved communication with the injector well, despite best efforts and planning.

Look up the Hot Dry Rock tests at the Rosemanowes quarry in Cornwall. Having talked to two of the senior people who worked on the project during a fact finding trip on Hot Dry Rock technology I can assure you it was not the success that the Wikipedia version might have you believe. Of note, produced water chemistry varied dramatically despite quite close proximity,100'rds of yards not miles.

Some deep stimulated hot dry rock trials have ended up just consuming water and when they do produce hot water it is loaded with some very nasty salts, both toxic and radio active. I assure you that trying to "treat" the water, as you so glibly throw out, is neither trivial nor cheap. Note also that when you introduce a heat exchange step you insert a significant cost and a reduction in efficiency, especially when one is working with the low delta temperatures inherent with geothermal energy. One thing for sure, if you do extract the energy from hot dry granite it takes decades, up to 50 years or more, depending on the local thermal gradient, for the temperature to rise back to the starting point.

Do not underestimate the knowledge and experience levels of the typical BH reader, pick a topic related to energy and somebody here will be more than capable of putting the true facts on the table based on real world experience.

Mar 7, 2015 at 2:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Singleton

I thank Gilbert K. Arnold, interesting stuff, as are most of the other posts on this thread [as usual].

I have no [NONE] expertise in this subject, though I am thirsty for Geothermal energy - growing bananas in Iceland was just such a bananas idea to a young kid but at one time or another Iceland became a bananas exporter!

Geothermal energy [whether it be for heating or generating], from 'hot rocks' water welling up to the surface is, with a bit of careful engineering relatively speaking, kids stuff.

Now then, a test - other than Aquae Sulis can anyone think of another suitable 'warm springs' in Britain? Plus, how much heat energy is pumped up by mother Gaia in Aquae Sulis, surely it is very considerable, thus when compared to what other methods are being discussed - these surely, are footling efforts.

Again, if not Iceland and other suitable natural areas [see Gilbert K. Arnold] - imho - is it worth the bother?

Mar 7, 2015 at 8:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Hallo, Gilbert K Arnold
There are women here as well, you know.....!

Mar 7, 2015 at 9:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

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