[INFOGRAPHIC] The role geothermal could play in the world's energy mix
Sometimes it seems that the more you look for a solution, the more you tend to overlook those right under your nose—or way under your feet.
The problem in this case is the quickening pace of climate change, which threatens to displace millions of human beings in our lifetime, according to an endless number of sources. Some possible solutions have been around for as long as the Earth itself: wind, sun and water.
In the case of geothermal energy, however, the topic is typically relegated to the backburner, which is strange given the impressive implications of the technology. It all starts in the Earth’s crust. The Earth’s crust is made up of hot rock— where temperatures reach upwards of 350 degrees Fahrenheit— that can be harnessed to generate electricity. By utilizing water heated in the crust, geothermal power facilities can generate electricity with steam.
The idea and practice of accessing geothermal energy is not new. What this infographic illustrates is the functionality of Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS.)
EGS matters because they can capture power from anywhere there is enough hot rock, create little to no greenhouse gas emissions and are constant— meaning they create energy around the clock, unlike solar or wind.
According to energy.gov, America’s first commercial, grid-connected EGS is up and running and located in Churchill County in northwestern Nevada.
“The new 1.7 megawatt ‘Desert Peak 2’ EGS installation, harnesses the boundless supply of heat found thousands of feet below the Earth’s surface to generate clean, renewable electricity. The project is being led by Ormat Technologies,” energy.gov said.
The energy agency believes that EGS can play a critical role in America’s energy future.
“Whereas traditional geothermal systems are largely limited to deployment in the western United States, EGS can be deployed all across America – extending geothermal’s overall reach. Geologists estimate EGS can supply more than 100 GW in the U.S. alone— a 40-fold increase over present geothermal power capacity,” according to energy.gov.
In the meantime, the Desert Peak facility has increased power output at the site by 38 percent, according to energy.gov.
Related Story: [WATCH]: Geothermal Energy: America's Forgotten Renewable
Related Story: [INTERACTIVE]: Map of U.S. Geothermal Heat Flow
Toyota unveils electric van and Volvo opens fuel cell lab
Toyota is launching its first zero emission battery electric vehicle, the Proace Electric medium-duty panel van, across Europe.
The model, which offers a choice of 50 or 75kWh lithium-ion batteries with range of up to 205 miles, is being rolled out in the UK, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden.
At present, alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs, including battery electric vehicles) account for only a fraction – around 1.8 per cent – of new light commercial van sales in the UK, but a number of factors are accelerating demand for practical alternatives to vans with conventional internal combustion engines.
Low and zero emission zones are coming into force to reduce local pollution and improve air quality in urban centres, at the same time as rapid growth in ecommerce is generating more day-to-day delivery traffic.
Meanwhile the opening of Volvo's first dedicated fuel cell test lab in Volvo Group, marks a significant milestone in the manufacturer’s ambition to be fossil-free by 2040.
Fuel cells work by combining hydrogen with oxygen, with the resulting chemical reaction producing electricity. The process is completely emission-free, with water vapour being the only by-product.
Toni Hagelberg, Head of Sustainable Power at Volvo CE, says fuel cell technology is a key enabler of sustainable solutions for heavier construction machines, and this investment provides another vital tool in its work to reach targets.
"The lab will also serve Volvo Group globally, as it’s the first to offer this kind of advanced testing," he said.
The Fuel Cell Test Lab is a demonstration of the same dedication to hydrogen fuel cell technology, as the recent launch of cell centric, a joint venture by Volvo Group and Daimler Truck to accelerate the development, production and commercialization of fuel cell solutions within long-haul trucking and beyond. Both form a key part of the Group’s overall ambition to be 100% fossil free by 2040.