Terry Hallinan's Comments

September 02, 2014

Sludge Treatment at U.K. Facility Turns Waste Into ‘Black Gold’

I know of other efforts to convert sewage to fuel and fertilizer but this appears on the surface light years ahead of others.

"United Utilities, meanwhile, is capitalizing on its THP success with the world’s first sludge-powered data center"

We get lots of sludge with our data. Wish that had some use. :-)

Best, Terry

August 29, 2014

The MIT Curse Strikes Again: Lilliputian Systems Files for Bankruptcy

The august folk at MIT did little more than change the acronym for a decades-long failure in EGS. They diverted scarce funds from promising geothermal power projects and gave a bad name to pie-in-the-sky misinformation from raw amateurs.

An interesting sidelight is that a graduate MIT student did an excellent paper on the prospects for low temperature geothermal power generation at Warm Springs Indian Reservation while his senior elders were making fools of themselves in blaring headlines.

It is surely a miracle humans have survived so long.

Best, Terry

August 22, 2014

The Next Big Challenge for Energy Storage

Energy storage is as old as weeds. Factories using scarce resources to create more waste is far less salubrious.

You cannot overcome the enormous fallibility of intermittent energy with such devices without additional harm to the environment.

Pumped storage BTW is both economical and relatively kind to the environment but geographically limited.

Baseload renewable energy is unlimited in human terms. Perhaps that is the reason it is allowed to go to - ahem - waste.

Best, Terry

August 22, 2014

UK Supermarket To Be Powered Exclusively by Waste-To-Energy Plant

Baseload renewable energy is great but why the "ground source" heating rather than geothermal heat pumps that provide both heat and air conditioning on demand?

Is there some saving in installation or something else?

Best, Terry

August 20, 2014

A Tipped Scale in California: Time to See the True Value of Geothermal

"I support geothermal"

Yah, sure, betcha.

"It's difficult work but likely to be more successful than engaging in a food fight with wind and solar companies."


All baseload renewable sources are burdened with such friends who ignore reality. How might one value the forest cleanup that results in waste to energy that help prevent forest fires.

California has an ignoble history of encouraging forest fires instead to keep everything "natural."

Destroying forests is not natural but tell that to the Sierra Club and see what you get.

Good article. One of these days we might learn that one needs to face reality if we survive long enough.

Best, Terry

August 22, 2014

A Tipped Scale in California: Time to See the True Value of Geothermal

"Oil and gas is all within 4 kilometers of surface, in sedimentary rocks."

Simply not true, Grace.

Giant pools of oil and natural gas have been found at great depths. There were banner headlines a few years ago about Chevron, as best I can recall, finding an "elephant" in the Gulf of Mexico but, truth be told, it had been known about for decades.

B. C. McCabe, the now legendary geothermal pioneer, was preparing to raise seed capital to exploit the very deep and huge natural gas deposits expected to be found in the same area but was cut off at the draw by DOE announcing exploratory drilling in the same area. B.C. couldn't compete because he had no money printing press.

As far as I know DOE never followed up on its plans but the fricking frackers are today doing their dirt to the planet in deep formations.

Even mines can go very deep. Ironically sulfur mines were known for their hellacious heat from the depth of the digs.

Best, Terry

August 22, 2014

A Tipped Scale in California: Time to See the True Value of Geothermal

"My only complaint about shallow direct geothermal is that there is not enough of it to replace coal completely."

Grace, direct geothermal will not replace a microgram of coal used to generate electricity since direct use refers only to use of the heat brought to surface by geothermal brines that were used as long ago as 12,000 years by inhabitants of North America at the time.

Shallow, low-temperature geothermal brines have been neglected in exploitation for electric generation but our genyus Energy Secretary is at one such site in Alaska:

"U.S. Energy Secretary visits Chena Hot Springs, Alaska


Moniz said. “(The geothermal) cut costs here to less than 7 cents a kwh. That’s with a relatively low temperature source...""


Chena claims a much lower cost for generation and has set a record for low temperature power generation but I guess an energy secretary can't remember just everything - especially a fellow who thinks the dirtiest fossil fuel, of all - natural gas - is green.

Shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth - or smell the emanations from the other end, I suppose.

Best, Terry

August 28, 2014

A Tipped Scale in California: Time to See the True Value of Geothermal

"There is a kind of pine tree with cones that will not release their seeds without being burnt. That is why California insists on leaving forest litter lying around."

I don't think even Californians like my friends and relatives are quite that dumb but you never know really. :-)

"Understanding the chaparral’s relationship to fire is important because the system is incredibly sensitive to increased fire frequency. If the public thinks chaparral needs to burn and that older stands are unhealthy, it will lead to land management policies that could threaten the system’s continued existence."


A whole ecosystem is threatened by following conservative prescriptions that already lead to bigger and better :-( forest fires.

So what is the answer?

"For every problem there is a solution that neat, simple and wrong." H. L. Mencken.

For the record, I agree that plants requiring special treatment (if fully true) for survival could have that provided by those interested in preservation of species but matters are seldom so simple.

Best, Terry

August 28, 2014

Could Africa be the Global Epicenter of Renewable Energy by 2030?

"The developed countries should support more to poverty rural Africa"

Mr. Zhang, the most developed country of them all, America, has populations living at the same subsistence and below level of the poorest sub-Saharan Africans. The enormous and increasing inequality crosses all geographic boundaries. Even those with slight experience outside of a small geographic region in most parts of the world have seen enormous wealth coexisting with terrible poverty.

The solutions are rather obvious - increases in education, more productive enterprise, decent compensation for labor and more green electricity and other green energy. Yet even here you see presecriptions for less energy.

It's a wonder humans have survived so long.

Best, Terry

August 15, 2014

Global Renewable Energy Status Uncovered

"relative to annual GDP, Uruguay, Mauritius, and Costa Rica were among the top countries for investment in new renewable power and fuels in 2013."

Yeah, people, but how about Rwanda looking to raise billions for geothermal power while wealthy countries like the U.S. are claiming that the most poisonous of all fossil fuels, natural gas, is green power. Leakage of unburned natural gas may be doing more harm than CO2. Our new Energy Secretary has said that methane in the atmosphere just "goes away" in a decade - a new physics not previously known. It actually decays into CO2 over a longer time frame but in the meantime... It is not by any measure green power except in political science speak.

Best, Terry

August 13, 2014

US State Breaks Ground on a "Perfect" Solar + Storage Microgrid that Can Provide Resilient Power

Where will the lithium come from? :-)

I asked the question to point out the absurdity of this "perfect" solution to problems with intermittent sources of energy. One new source of a rare earth is geothermal brines. Geothermal is the ultimate baseload power source.

Another great baseload renewable power source is waste as mentioned already. Vermont is the green, green state that converted a natural gas plant to burn wood waste but also one that refused to utilize a "magic pond" that didn't freeze in winter for its geothermal power potential.

Ain't nobody perfect I guess.

Best, Terry

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