Monday, June 25, 2007


Geothermal desalination

ABC News: A geothermal energy company hopes to desalinate water from Spencer Gulf in South Australia using hot rocks.

Here's a radical idea, guys. If you're going to bother plumbing a heat exchanger into one of the largest accessible hot-rock layers in the world, how about you run that nice steam through a few turbines before you pump it into a storage dam? That way Victoria can possibly shut down some of its filthy brown coal power stations. Who knows, maybe the idea will catch on, once everyone realises there's enough heat there to make electriciy for about 450 years.

Just a thought.

In New Zealand we harness geothermal power and a number of new power stations are being built around the Taupo area. Once the energy has been "taken" they reinject the water so as not to cause land slumping which was becoming a problem. A local prawn park uses waste warm water before it goes into the river. Everyone wins - including the prawns!
I think that big geothermal plant out on the Broadland road is running out of oomph though (the one with a cooling tower that looks like a nuclear power station, the better to confuse tourists with). They're talking about replacing if with a wind farm, I hear. I should admit to you, Dawn, that I'm a Bay of Plenty boy ;)

That thing in South Australia is a slightly different scene. There's no steam -- it's a just a huge layer of bloody hot rocks, insulated by the stuff above but shallow enough to drill into. As I understand it, the idea is to circulate water through boreholes to get steam back out. So you wouldn't get slumping but you might have to drill new holes occasionally.
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