Geothermal energy waste into lithium batteries

Most geothermal energy plants inject water deep into the ground where the earth’s heat energy turns it into steam used to generate electricity.

The wastewater from this process is full of elements that are not abundant on the surface and that includes lithium.  Without going too far into battery technology lithium batteries last four times as long as conventional ones and can deliver a lot of energy quickly.  The latter feature is extremely useful for electronics and hybrid cars.  The 150 MPG cars you hear about are made with lithium-ion batteries.

This is a great example of a change needed at the demand level.  Energizer makes them but  the cost makes them a rare purchase despite the advantages.  A synergistic relationship between battery makers and geothermal energy producers is very important. The educated consumer will buy them but needs to realize that you get what you pay for and 99 cent batteries last only hours.

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Calpine

geothermal geysers

The best  and most plentiful source of power on this planet is geological activity.  I have mentioned this belief before particularly when talking about what exactly the oil companies will do when the oil runs out.

I have recently become a resident of the State of California so instead of trying to cover national companies, I will focus on companies in the Southwest in addition to ones in New England.

This corporation has a longish history of natural gas plants in Wisconsin and the Southwest and has a truly sustainable geothermal plant in Northern California. It is estimated that the development meets 60 percent of the power demand for the coastal region between the Golden Gate Bridge and the Oregon state line.[1]

The Geysers, a geothermal power field located 72 miles (116 km) north of San Francisco, California, is the largest geothermal development in the world. . The Geysers consists of 22 separate power plants that utilize steam from more than 350 producing wells. The Calpine Corporation operates and owns 19 of the 22 facilities. The other three facilities are operated by the Northern California Power Agency and the Western GeoPower Corporation.

It is currently outputting over 750 MW

And I have a great history of the company from someone who knows them well, both from a financial and personal perspective:

Calpine had a hard time of it
because of the nature of the energy business and its proximity to National
Security.  When Enron was overbought and tried to characterize loan
payments to various off-the-books entities such as Chewco and Raptor
(Raptor was also the name of a state of the art jet program at the Defense
Department) as revenue, their competitive entities, the oil companies,
banks, insurers and the U.S. Government, did it in with the Enron Task
Force (ETF is also the acronym for Electronically Traded Funds)–because,
as the saying goes–the public must diversify!).  Anyway, the spill-off
from Enron, 911 and the NYSE shut down by Grasso et al., didn’t help
Calpine to say the least.  Their funding was cut off and Buffett (yes
Warren) demanded pipeline companies carry more insurance coverage due to
the terrorist threat.   It took six years to bankrupt Calpine and in late
2007 they filed Chapter 11.  They emerged from bankruptcy with a five
billion dollar loan in 2008.  They have various properties generating
geo-thermal power and build gas-fired power plants internationally.
Calpine has several “bases” headquarter loci, among them San Jose
California and Houston Texas and have a large Canadian real estate
portfolio including natural gas related interests.

-John

calpine geothermal

What are China’s Priorities?

There is somewhat of a standoff going on between all the countries in the world over this cap and trade emissions idea.  Most notably is the US and China as we account for 40% of the world’s carbon emissions.

So what happens if we cap our emissions and China does not?

First we should look at what China wants because this is a hard thing to pin down.  It seems clear that the people in charge in China do not put the same value on human life or quality of life.  It follows that they could really care less about the environment or it’s inhabitants and wouldn’t pursue alternative energy on the grounds it poisons the planet.

China does want to be THE new superpower in the world and if they are clever they will have figured out that long term growth will inevitably require alternative energy infrastructure.  China already has some alternative energy initiatives in place.

if we cap and they don’t we could put carbon tariffs in place but that might just lead to a large black market…

So until peak oil declines and coal reserves run out, China won’t actually cap emissions because it is a short term economic restriction. They will invest in alternative energy but like everyone else they will use fossil fuels to the bottom of the barrel.

Of course we might be told that they have capped emissions but like most regulations in China, they will go unenforced.

garbage river

$467 Million for Solar and Geothermal

obama-green

Congratulations to the president for making a good decision, he has done some things well and other poorly but this is a good step.

For one, these are the two alternative energy sources that have by far the most potential.  Ignoring investment into bio-fuels and wind is very smart.

Also the bulk of the money goes towards research and development, which is important because this will allow us to perfect the technologies before putting them into widespread use.

$350 million for geothermal shows great foresight as, in my opinion anyway, this is truly a source of unlimited dependable energy.

Many will probably aygrue that this money would be better spent on some other part of the economy and as someone who has been laid off due to this recession I can understand the point.  However, this constitutes a very small chunk of the overall stimulus package and if you don’t think long term, you’re doomed to live in the past.

Plus I plan on having kids and I know they will benifit from this even if I don’t see the results anytime soon.

Bio-Fuels are bad part 3: Ethanol

ethanol is bad

In addition to causing more green house emissions in the process of creating ethanol from corn and not getting better gas mileage, apparently ethanol causes expensive damage to engines, the fuel pump in particular.  Which makes perfect sense considering that alcohol can be corrosive to plastic and rubber.

So when you see a picture of corn on the side of the gas pump, it’s a bad sign.

Detailed Article

The future of Exxon-Mobil

What will the giant oil companies of the world do when production declines and what will they do when the black gold runs out entirely?

If the Arctic continues it’s recessive trend, the Exxon-Mobils will have a brief stay of execution with new-found reserves in the former great white north, but then what?

They may use their drilling expertise to mine gas hydrates at the bottom of the ocean. I have mentioned that this is really a bad idea.

Exxon Mobil is the largest company in the world and something should be done with their equipment and employees, most of the companies are American owned anyway so we have a personal stake in the future of the oil companies…imagine having to bail them out!

So the solution is Geothermal.

I don’t know if I’ve commented on this before but I believe that Geothermal is the best renewable energy resource we have.

-It’s unlimited

-It’s constant

-Requires small overhead to convert heat energy to electric

—We have perfected the technology of drilling!

Ok maybe it’s not perfect but if there is any technology we have improved to the utmost, it’s oil drilling.  Bottom line; drilling a big hole is how we harness geothermal energy.

So there’s your future big oil, you make a profit no matter what the price per barrel but someday those barrels will be empty.

Geothermal_System_400

Top 50 renewable energy users

Some surprising ones like Pepsi, Dell, Whole Foods, Dannon are using 100% renewable energy.  This seems like a good business decision strictly in terms of long term business strategy.

Imagine the competitive advantage of having your transportation and distribution budgets not being dependent on the price of oil.

EPA Top Fifty

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