CoolIP index                                                          Most recent edit: Monday March 25, 2013

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Geothermal AWE Concept

Perhaps the ultimate renewable energy source is geothermal. Iceland's electricity is 100% geothermal; a superb baseload energy resource, not intermittent, like sun or wind.

In most of the world, geothermal energy is found too deep to be economic yet, even though drilling tech is now marginally able to go the distance (~10km). A major barrier is the fuel cost of mobile energy to drill the extensive heat channel networks that gather the steam to drive steam-generators.

AWE looks potentially well suited to drive geothermal drilling operations by direct kinetic transfer. The drillhead could even be a capstan driven by a kite-cable, somewhat like an ancient bow-drill. AWE as intermittent but cheap windpower could be a key to unlocking abundant geothermal baseload power.

This idea springs from an earlier KiteLab Group "kite-to-turbines" concept, whereby a needy community might get started at minimal capital-cost with AWE, and thereby finance permanent wind turbines.

CC BY NC SA        ~Dave Santos         25March2013           AirborneWindEnergy/message/8904

Comment and development of this topic will be occurring here.       
All, send notes, links, drawings, papers, videos, plans, safety-critical findings, and photographs!

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    • Kites also seem suitable particularly for impact drills, where they can be used.  ~Bob Stuart  25March2013 
    • However, it is not necessary to drill to get huge amounts of geothermal power, you just have to park over a hydrothermal vent on the seabed. There's one field about 200 miles west of Vancouver that could feed fifty of the biggest undersea cables ever installed. The challenges are the same as on land - keep the hot liquid from either dissolving or encrusting your apparatus. Calling that an opportunity, it might be possible to grow most of the required tubing from mineral deposits by managing the process. Improvements in robotics are shifting the economics toward a sea-floor facility, rather than a seaborne platform. The by-product deposit stream is of considerable interest to the mining industry, too. ~ Bob Stuart 25March2013 

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