Balls of DNA Could Fix Geothermal Energy's Biggest Problem

Shara Tonn for Wired.com:  Geothermal Power has the potential to be cheap, reliable, and abundant—running off the heat of the Earth 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That’s especially true thanks to a new generation of home-grown geothermal plants, which don’t run off the steam of natural hot springs and geysers. No need to find those hydrothermal gems; today, geothermal engineers are making their own reservoirs by drilling down into hot rock and pumping in water.

The catch? Engineers can’t see what’s happening underground. Drilling wells in just the right spot can be like playing golf blindfolded: Even if someone faces you in the right direction, you could still hit the ball way off the green. But tiny fragments of DNA dropped into the wells could soon help engineers follow the path of water underground, helping them sink their putts every time.

In a basic geothermal plant set-up, engineers actually have to drill two types of wells. The first kind, which goes down two or three miles, carries cold water down deep, where it fractures the hot rock and creates new paths for water to move. It’s kind of like fracking, but without the chemicals.  Cont'd...

Biofuel Production is Complex

Introduction of biofuels is proceeding so quickly, that the environmental risks of biofuel production are being disregarded. Without careful and thorough assessment and regulation, the promise of biofuels may well be delayed.

After Years of Lying Dormant, the Geothermal Market is Ready to Take Off

Though the potential and power of geothermal energy is massive, setting up a large-scale plant to harness this energy is not an easy goal.

Iran is building the Middle East's first geothermal power plant

Iran is building the Middle East’s first geothermal power plant at the foot of an inactive volcanic peak as the country is racing to meet a runaway demand for electricity by its growing population. 

The pilot station in northwestern Meshguin Shahr in the Ardabil province is projected to come on stream in the next two years, putting Iran in the club of two dozen nations with the geothermal power generation capacity.

The 50-megawatt project is in line with Iran’s bid to expand its clean energy mix which is dominated by fossil fuels. Geothermal power is cheaper and more reliable than other renewable energy sources, such as thermal or hydro power.  Cont'd...

How Merthen Manor Heats Family Home And Six Cottages And Saves £20,000 Per Year In Fuel Bills

The biomass district heating system provides heat and hot water to the whole estate throughout the year, predictable fuel bills, income from the renewable heat incentive (RHI), and a 43,000kg reduction in CO2 emissions per year.

The Dark Side of Renewable Energy: Negative Impacts of Renewables on the Environment

What scientists, engineers, companies, and nations expanding their power capacities need to focus on, is implementing solutions that keep negative impacts of renewables in check.

Fact Sheet: President Obama to Announce Historic Carbon Pollution Standards for Power Plants

The Clean Power Plan is a Landmark Action to Protect Public Health, Reduce Energy Bills for Households and Businesses, Create American Jobs, and Bring Clean Power to Communities across the Country

Hillary Clinton is calling for a 700% increase in solar power. Is that realistic?

Brad Plumer for VOX:  In the coming months, Hillary Clinton's campaign is planning to release a series of proposals for dealing with global warming. Her first installment is out Sunday evening, and it calls for a large increase in renewable power.

Specifically, she's proposing to boost the amount of wind, solar, and other renewables so that they provide 33 percent of America's electricity by 2027 — enough to power every home in the country.

Part of her plan would involve accelerating the recent rapid growth of solar installations nationwide. In her proposal, Clinton calls for US solar power to grow 700 percent from current levels.

That sounds like an impossibly large number, but it's not implausible on its face. US solar capacity grew 418 percent between 2010 and 2014 (because it was starting from a small base). So 700 percent growth by 2027 is at least within the realm of possibility. But it would require additional policy changes — and clean energy prices would have to keep dropping.  Cont'd...

Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Geothermal heat pumps are ideal for use in buildings looking to reduce consumption to net zero.

Solar Heating Combined with a Ground Heat Pump Is a Cost-efficient, Ecological Solution

Solar power was particularly efficient when combined with ground heat in terms of the profitability of investments.

Is India Ready to Be a Solar Power Leader?

By RUPA SUBRAMANYA for ForeignPolicy.com:  Is India ripe for a renewable energy revolution? Foreign investors certainly seem to think so, and renewables have been a signature issue for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But if revolution is indeed underway, it isn’t a spontaneous one. And taxpayer money — not just from India — is fueling the surge.

New Delhi’s renewable energy aspirations recently received a major boost when Japan’s SoftBank announced a joint venture with Indian conglomerate Bharti Enterprises and Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group to create a new, Japanese-owned company that will bid on power contracts in India’s growing solar sector. Renewable energy, including solar, is a priority for Modi and has been since before he became the country’s leader last year. “The time has arrived for a saffron revolution, and the color of energy is saffron,” he saidon the campaign trail in 2014, attempting to symbolically link the sacred color of Hindus and his Bharatiya Janata Party with his energy dream. This joint venture is the first major announcement by a foreign investor that could help make that dream a reality.  Cont'd...

Kyocera's "Green Curtains" of Foliage Help Company Conserve Energy

Green Curtains help combat climate change by reducing office temperatures and energy use, encourage employee involvement in environmental efforts and can add an interesting harvest to the employee cafeteria!

Study: U.S. could run entirely on renewable energy by 2050

A new study has mapped out a potential plan for the United States to completely transition to clean, renewable energy by 2050.
According to the research study leader Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, the process would demand significant upfront costs, but over time would be roughly equal to the costs of maintaining the fossil fuel infrastructure currently in place.
“When you account for the health and climate costs – as well as the rising price of fossil fuels – wind, water and solar are half the cost of conventional systems,” Jacobson said. “A conversion of this scale would also create jobs, stabilize fuel prices, reduce pollution-related health problems and eliminate emissions from the United States. There is very little downside to a conversion, at least based on this science.”
Among the positives of switching to clean energy: reducing air pollution in the U.S. that is responsible for approximately 63,000 Americans each year, and eliminating greenhouse gases produced by fossil fuel that would cost the world approximately $3.3 trillion per year by 2050, per a phys.org report.

Talking Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) with Rachel Dahl and James Faulds

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) selected a site near Fallon for its Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE), and $2 million in federal funds to launch the ground-breaking research project.

Biogas: Big Opportunities, But Beware the Risks

Today, there are more than 191 biogas sites already operating on farms and about 1,500 more at wastewater treatment plants, but there is tremendous opportunity for more growth in biogas systems.

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