[LINK] Geo-thermal: clean, permanent electricity

Tom Koltai tomk at unwired.com.au
Mon Jan 12 00:36:26 AEDT 2009

> -----Original Message-----
> From: stephen at melbpc.org.au [mailto:stephen at melbpc.org.au] 
> Sent: Sunday, 11 January 2009 10:33 PM
> To: Tom Koltai; stephen at melbpc.org.au; link at anu.edu.au
> Subject: RE: [LINK] Geo-thermal: clean, permanent electricity
> Ah, good then .. the above personal experiences would 
> certainly indicate hot-rock smarts, and so in which case 
> supplying urls as you have is easy.
> Having toured four hot rock sites, though the engineering is 
> different to ours, tell me, it this true?  An engineering 
> friend relates that the degree to which our Australian 
> geothermal plants can be 'closed systems' depends on 
> skill/luck with the detonation to shatter the hot granite 
> bed- rock between the two bore-holes so one pumps water and 
> the other collects 
> all of it. The ideal is, apparently, to create an 'enclosed 
> bubble' effect of shattered granite, with no crack reaching 
> the surface of the bedrock. This way, virtualy all the water 
> pumped down is reclaimed as steam, and dissolved salts aren't 
> an issue. Care to comment on that comment, Tom?

Steven, my coments are as follows:

I am not a geologist and am unable to comment on the differnet types of
Granite and its flaking or H2S & SO2 potential.
Your Hot Rocks might be different from every where else in the world,
but I am yet to see a "Clean - yes I would drink the water" Geothermal
power generation system in action.

The plant is rated at 1 Mw. That is equal in kjoules to a human being
walking 216 kilometres at 4 kilometres per hour.
Not a lot of electricity.
The average three bedroom house with 2 adults and 2.3 children utilise
3.4 kw to 4.3 kw (avg hourly consumption)
If you multiple by this by the size of Bondi and Vaucluse, that equals
Approx. 25 Mw per hour.
Therefore if you had a hundred hot rock instalations dotted around the
country - it would be enough to run - about ten large Sydney suburbs. 

If you added Transmission costs to this - the economics would have a +75
year payback with an expected retail price of around $1.27 per KwH.

Im afraid my opinion is still - Hot rocks are great for regional power
as a Distributed Generation System.(DGS) 
They fail commercially  unless thousands of bores can be drilled. A
decade of proving has failed to show Geothermal power as an edequate
replacement for traditional coal fired generation systems.
Please read: http://home.nvbell.net/sbgeo/steamboat.html before posting
again on this subject. 

Rejkavik have had Kalina heat exchange hot rock systems running since
1993. Their largest plant is insufficient to run even Penrith.

As for the ASX listed GeoDynamics, from an announcement point of view -
I am sure that as an Australian Penny stock, they are making the
annnouncements necessary to maintain interest in their share price.

Unfortunately....  Australian Electricity consumption falls 1% per
annum. http://www.electricalworld.com.au/onestory.php?idNum=889 which
means in the long term that their principle profits will most likely be
REC's based and not Power generation capacity based.  Their need to
connect to the Grid explains the business model. i.e.: No Grid
connection - No NGACS. At 1 MwH capacity, their income will be $840.00
per day per heat exchange system. At close to 1.8 mill per instal - I
think it might be a while before the shareholders obtain any kind of
real return.

However, on a Distributed Generation Service basis - I agree that Hot
rock technology has a lot of potential for small townships - again
provided they have fresh water and a 6600 DC Volt Grid.

> You will agree Tom that Australia is already at the forefront 
> in hot rock research, 

Umm, no - I cant say that. - My research in this arena is now four years
old - I am not across new developments.

>and i guess you'd join me in suggesting Linkers lobby a little, just to
see that such promising clean 
> technology becomes priority Aussie infra-structure.

Umm, no - on my list of priorities, Hot rocks would be waaaaay down the
list of Tax Payer funded infrastructure.
Whilst I abhore Coal Power Generation, I do not see an economical choice
for Australians for several years unless we divest ourselves of all
technology and move into mudbrick homes and walk everywhere.

So although I like alternative energy projects, I would list, Solar
Chimneys, Tidal Generators and Deep Sea Heat inversion Technologies
above hot rocks. Mainly for cost reasons - all 3 on my list can be
constructed near population centres on the banana strip (Brisbane to
Adelaide) with lower cost and cheaper Grid interconnection.

And even then - if all coal fired were to be turned off tommorrow, I
would prefer DGS via PBMR nuclear technology (From Toshiba Tsianjin
University and MIT) than have to wait for hotrocks infrastructutre to be
built out. 

Hot Rocks, Wind Farms, and Solar Panels are a capable and necessary
ADJUNCT to the power generation methodologies available to Australians

(Omitted Biogas for legal reasons).

> With a major power plant for each Capital (paid for by each 
> State) in the 
> Cooper basin complete with their own economical and dedicated 
> HVDC cables, 

No such thing as economical HVDC transmission towers. It's a $mill per
kilometre for 650 MW - and the economics of the location don't warrant
lower quantities. These days, the Transmission companies realy want to
see GW (600+) and not MW to build infrastructure.

As for the Cooper basin, it could possibly provide power to SA, half of
VIC and a quarter of NSW - unfortunately NOT to the whole of Australia.
Unfortunately apart from some breweries in Adelaide and Mitsubishi,
there are very few large power consuming industrial companies in SA or
in the corners of the other states close enough to the cooper basin to
take advantage of the Hotrock genrated power.

I also suggest reviewing the SchedLoad Tab on the following Excel
spreadsheet. http://www.nemmco.com/registration/110-0732.xls


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