Comment: 23:25 - 25:01 (01:36)
Source: Annenberg/CPB Resources - Earth Revealed 26. Living With Earth, Part II
Keywords: "Fred Teeters", brine, groundwater, pressure, reservoir, drilling, well, nitrogen, steam, geothermal, power, energy, environment, "wind power", "photo-voltaic cell", structure
Our transcription: Sometimes artificial means are used to vaporize the groundwater.
This brine, as it exists in the ground, the pressure in the reservoir is not enough for the brine to flow to the surface, so what we do is after we drill a well, we will induce it to flow with nitrogen gas.
We will pump gas into it, which will start it to boiling, to flashing.
And on its own it will generate, much like a teapot, it'll start to boil, and if you get enough heat it will boil out the top.
So these wells will generate their own steam, and they'll produce to the surface.
Geothermal energy is a stable source of power with relatively low environmental impact.
Environmentally, geothermal is one of the most benign energy sources we have.
The only two that might be better than that would be wind power and photo-voltaic cells.
The major short-comings to geothermal is it has a high capital investment, so you have got to have a lot of capital to get started.
That's probably one of the biggest drawbacks to it.
The second drawback is that we're really limited, that there are only finite areas that can be developed.
Only a few places have the proper combination of heat, geologic structure and clean groundwater to produce geothermal energy.
And since heat is replaced quite slowly in rocks, geothermal stations usually tap all useful energy within just a few decades.
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