Energy, Innovation

Enormous Geothermal Canal Proposed

01.30.07 | 3 Comments

Well here is a bold and interesting idea: Dig a long canal >128km (>80 miles) about 15 meters in diameter (~50 feet) at a depth of >5km (>3 miles) from the ocean on the Atlantic coast inland. Why? Because temperatures exceed 150C (~300F) at that depth, there is no shortage of ocean water, and the transfer of heat to that water over such a long distance would be sufficient to power a geothermal “Hoover Dam” equivalent on the eastern seaboard.

Clearly a project of this magnitude is neither easy nor cheap, but J. David Reynolds at Atlantic Geothermal is championing just such an approach. Aside from the obvious practical challenges of such a project, there are some other things like the amount of total dissolved solids in the water that would definitely need to be addressed. For instance, in the Salton Sea geothermal area in California, one must use titanium lined pipes to withstand the corrosive nature of the geothermal resource. That’s not cheap.

Nevertheless, this is a bold idea who’s feasibility will be debated hotly, no doubt. Regardless of your position on feasibility, it’s nice to see someone thinking big and sustainable.

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