Thursday, August 7, 2014

European Conferences on Geothermal District Heating

Interested in knowing more about Geothermal District heating, what it can do for you and what the future holds? Join European Conferences on Geothermal District Heating (22-23rd September in Brussels) for information on the prospective and potential for geothermal district heating in Europe, as well as information on financing, business models and regulation. 
The second session will cover the technological developments and will be held in collaboration with a geothermal panel meeting, covering the Horizon 2020 in 2015 work programme. These sessions will be preceded by a conference on the EU’s Energy security strategy and the 2030 climate and energy package.

Who should attend?
  • National, Regional and local authorities, municipalities in particular. 
  • EU policy makers 
  • Universities and Training Centres 
  • Financial Actors (banks and other investors) 
  • District heating designers and installers 
  • DH operators and associations 
  • Owners and tenants of large buildings. 

In case you are interested in this topic, feel free to register here at the official site of GeoDH project. The event is free of charge!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Geothermal energy can play a decisive role, not only in the Pacific

If the Asian countries would make full use of the potential they have in renewable energy sources, 94% of the energy needs could be provided. But the countries, including Philippines, must initiate an “energy revolution”, states the newest Greenpeace report. According to the report, geothermal energy has one of the biggest potential in the Pacific region.

If we are to reach a drastic reduction of CO2 emissions by 2050, 80% of the world energy supplies should come from renewable energy. The developing Asian states will also have to play a crucial role, claims the Greenpeace report entitled “Energy Revolution: A Sustainable Energy Outlook”. The global investments ought to reach $17.9 trillion until 2030, whereas the share of developing Asian states should amount to approximately $837.5 billion.

The Philippines are currently the regions leading country in geothermal energy production. The installed capacity in the country reaches 1.900 MW, which is the second largest in the world. The United States hold the primacy with 3.000 MW of installed capacity. The two countries together with Mexico, Italy and Indonesia account for 75% of the world’s geothermal electricity. Geothermal energy is mainly used for heating.

According to the latest report released by Earth Times, the global geothermal energy capacity is currently 18.6 gigawatts, states the portal RenewablesHub. The potential of geothermal energy, an energy source free from greenhouse gas emissions, is more than 70 GW and is available at all time compared to solar or wind energy. However, one of the key conditions for a wider use of geothermal energy are new, cheaper, technologies that could reduce the costs of available and also emerging drilling methods (like that our – PLASMABIT).

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

We introduce Mr. Innovation - Ivan Kocis

Ladies and gentlemen, a short time ago, Mr. Ivan Kocis joined our group on Facebook. Very openly, it is appropriate to call him „Mr. Innovation“. Let us provide some basic facts about his career background.

This time, Mr. Ivan Kocis is the President and Chairman of the Advisory Board of GA Drilling a.s. - the innovative technology company developing the breakthrough system enabling efficient ultra deep drilling for accessing and utilizing the vast sources of geothermal energy anywhere in the world.

Ivan is the inventor of five registered patents on field of engineering and ICT. He is research veteran, with 35 years of experience in leading positions within the large organizations and successful start-ups.

He is a member of various executive and scientific EU technological platforms‘ bodies and since 1990 he has hold several posts in Slovak government administration, all linked to research and development.

In 1999 he became the founder and chairman of The Eurovalley Industrial and Technological Park in Slovakia, which focuses on renewable and geothermal energy. From 1992 to 2000, as the CEO of the INFOTRANS Company, he achieved a dominant position in the special government-security market in Slovakia.

Before 1989, he led the R&D of the robotics and automation technology at the Institute of Mechanics and Automation of the Slovak Academy of Sciences. In other words, he led the team composed of 400 researchers. From 1964 to 1996 he published more than 80 scientific reports linked to automation and ICT. Under his leadership and with his participation, his team developed the first ever 16-bit computer in former Eastern block.

He holds the M.Sc. from the Technical University in Bratislava, specialization mechanization and automation as well as the Ph.D. from the Slovak Academy of Sciences. Beside the mother tongue, he speaks fluent English, German and Russian.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Environmental Impact of Geothermal Energy

Strong and weak aspects one can identify when studying various issues. Let's summarize impacts of geothermal energy. In this shot we will write about impact on environment, the next one will be focused on human health impact.

The linguistic origin says that „Geothermal“ represents the heat coming from Earth's depths („Geo“ like Earth, „thermal“ like heat). It means that this source of energy is natural and this heat is primary one. In comparison for example with fossil fuels, there are no additional steps or „mid-steps“ required in order to make and obtain heat. In previous article we wrote that according various estimations, Earth accumulates heat that would be enough to satisfy global energy demand for more than 10 billion years (see this link). In addition, this heat is accumulated either by adsorbing sunshine through surface or by happening specific chemical and physical reactions in Earth's solid iron core. Dangerous products of these reactions (UV radiation, dangerous gases, nuclear elements etc.) remains either in space, outside the ozone layer of Earth's atmosphere, or enough deep in proximity of Earth's core, which means deeper than magma. Therefore creating of this heat doesn't represent relevant danger, no question about it.

There are just three main objections towards geothermal energy:

Drilling issue is comparable with mining issue in matter of obtaining power sources for coal or nuclear power plants. On the other hand, geothermal wells do not require such a long diameter than mining s ahaft or the colliery. It is true that geothermal wells could be deeper than mining shafts, but altogether they require less capacity of soil to be removed.

Cooling the Earth is being mentioned as the second objection. Yes, if we exploit more heat than is capable to be renewed, by time the geothermal well produces ever colder water stream and becomes comercially uneffective. This can be resolved by better customizing EGS approach (more about EGS on this link).

Water issue becomes step by step of an ever higher political priority. Climate change means also the change of global water regime. On the other hand, operating geothermal wells is managed like closed water loop, so there can be no question about wasting the water sources.

In conclusion, environmental impact of geothermal energy depends on how it is being exploited and which approach is taken. But geothermal plants in general does not burn fossil fuels or coal in order to produce electricity. In comparison with „traditional“ power plant, it produces just 1 percent of CO2 emission in contrast with incineration of fossils. In addition, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adds regarding geothermal heating systems (secondary utilization of geothermal power) that geothermal heat pumps are the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective systems for temperature control. Altogether, geothermal energy represents clean modern solution for growing energy demand as well as for steps against climate change.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

From geothermal history: „Hot Dry Rock“ inspired also Mr. Nikola Tesla

Phenomenon of geothermal energy is not the discovery of our generation. At the very beginning of it, in 1852, Lord Kelvin focused his attention on natural heat as an enormous source of power at disposal for human being. On the other hand, knowledge on field of physics had been not enough developed in order to find ways how to exploit geothermal potential or potential of other sources of natural heat. Later, better understanding of thermo-dynamics came, so heat accumulated in Earth could had been started to be explored step by step.

„It is a well-known fact that the interior portions of the globe are very hot, the temperature rising, as observations show, with the approach to the center at the rate of approximately 1° C. for every hundred feet of depth,“ concluded Mr. Nikola Tesla in 1901 on the pages of Century Illustrated Magazine. His article, published at that time, was focused on thinking about various answers to issue of growing global energy demand. Among the solutions also the Sun's heat was mentioned (full article you will find on this link).

Thirty years later, in 1931, Mr. Nikola Tesla stated: „All that is necessary to open up unlimited resources of power throughout the world is to find some economic and speedy way of sinking deep shafts." This is quote from „Everyday Science and Mechanics“, in which he analyzed the possibility of using alternative sources of energy for producing electricity, beside the fossil fuels (full article you will find on this link). Once the shaft would had been filled by water, closed water loop could be established, thought Mr. Tesla. This could have been utilized for generating of steam, which would have been used in steam turbines, he assumed.

Well, in conclusion, developing “Hot Dry Rock” concept is not about „investing the wheel“, it has been known at least since the times of Nikola Tesla. On the other hand, for 80 years since that time geothermal energy technologies made some progress, but the technology enabling „economic and speedy way of sinking deep shaft“ (to depths of eight or more kilometers) is still waiting to be developed. It would mean a huge potential as well as a huge challenge.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Focused closely on „Hot Dry Rock“

All of you know that: Imagine you are on the beach during a sunny summer day. No clouds, no wind, just sun. Suddenly you decide to walk without shoes on your feet. Possible? Impossible because rocky road is too hot for your skin on feet. Actually, the rock can be good absorbent of enormous heat and it can deliver it quite quickly to all things in close contact with it.

Quality of rock is the same on Earth's surface as well as underground. This principle uses geothermal approach called „Hot Dry Rock“. If there are no natural hot water streams or natural hot water reservoirs, we can establish closed water loop and inject it down the well under high pressure. This water is warmed by „hot dry rock“ underground. In other words, in each area under the Earth's surface there is geological layer composed of rock. It is close to hot magma and it is of a very hot temperature. If we drill enough deep and make water to circulate through rock pores, after it is heated we can pump it above and use it as a source of energy in geothermal power plant. In order to bring rock permeability as close to ideal as possible, we can fracture this rock manually, through controlled detonation. Altogether, this process uses so called Enhanced Geothermal Systems.

There are more types of geothermal classification. One of them defines so called „hydrothermal“ and „petrothermal“ types of energy. „Hydro“ means that we drill and exploit presence of natural hot water. On the other hand,  „petro“ refers to drilling in order to establish closed water loop circulating through „hot dry rock“. Surely, in each area there are some natural underground water sources and at the same time, not all water injected down the well is able to be pumped back, so „petrothermal“ represents just ideal concept. In reality, all geothermal energy installations are combination between hydrothermal and petrothermal (based more or less on concrete type). But in general, „Hot Dry Rock“ is usually linked to „petrothermal“.

Well, this was just a brief explanation of what „Hot Dry Rock“ means. All is sketched on picture by civil engineer Mr. Geoff Sims on picture at the bottom. We also reccommend 10 minutes video explanation below:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

PLASMABIT Movement and anchoring subsystem

We are finalizing the presentation of particular subsystems of PLASMABIT. In this article we are focused on synchronization of the drilling process with surface material supply channels. 

Autonomous movement and anchoring subsystem works in extreme conditions of high temperatures and high pressure with the following requirements:
  • Anchoring system holding whole weight of the PLASMABIT rock disintegration system with no load on the cabling system       
  • Movement system securing movement of the PLASMABIT rock disintegration system with the drilling process      
  • Movement system securing synchronization with surface and cabling supply system       
  • Computer controlled and synchronized with all drilling activities      
  • Movement and anchoring system securing no load and twist on inner cabling of the PLASMABIT rock disintegration system


Fully computer-controlled tractor drilling system securing continual movement of the PLASMABIT rock disintegration system with the drilling process.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

PLASMABIT Interface with surface subsystem

Last month, we started the series of articles describing the PLASMABIT - system for deep drilling in depths 6 kilometers (and deeper) in geothermal energy as well as hydrocarbon industry. Today we are focused on subsystem responsible for interface with surface.

This advanced cabling solution for energy and material supply for PLASMABIT rock disintegration system enabling real-time Logging-While-Drilling with on-line connection to downhole drilling activities. The subsystem is based on multi-channel cabling system for:
  • Electrical power supply for PLASMABIT rock disintegration subsystem
  • Electrical power supply for PLASMABIT Movement and anchoring subsystem
  • Demineralized water supply for PLASMABIT rock disintegration system as a plasma media for thermal disintegration
  • Water supply for downhole cooling processes
  • Optical fiber and Power-Line-Communication (PLC) for real-time controlling, measuring, sensing, logging and system information gathering of the drilling process
  • Carrier rope for cable strength, weight and elasticity support
  • Advanced cable guarding and shielding techniques
Interface to coiled tubing solution enables simplification of whole drilling process and logistics. The next article will be dedicated to the Movement and anchoring system.