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EnviroLink Forum • View topic - Geothermal and global warming

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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 1:17 pm 
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Geothermal (the type where you drill down to the hot parts of the earth's crust) is pushed as a great way to reduce the emissions of CO2 and thus global warming. Someone said that it was adding heat to the atmosphere that would not have been added naturally. This is not entirely true in that the heat is in fact heading to the surface which is why we need to drill down so far. We do of course make it easier to get to the surface so that might have an effect but I doubt that volume is much and of course the heat naturally heading to the surface is reduced in the same proportions as the heat extracted. What got my attention though was the plumes of steam that some geothermal operations have from the cooling towers. To make turbines more effective, you increase the temperature difference on each side of the turbines so they spray water on the cooling pipes. The best geothermal locations generally are in places with little water resources so other options are being used (including less efficient turbines). The most influential greenhouse gases is not CO2 but rather water vapor. The difference is that clouds also reflect sunlight and shade the planet and thus counter some or all of their heat capturing effects. This still leaves some doubt in my mind that geothermal is as great a solution to global warming as it is touted to be.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:36 am 
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