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.

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