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Drilling for our Energy Independence and EGS

May 27, 2011

A clean and renewable energy source, geothermal energy has been used to generate electricity in the U.S. for decades.

The obvious question is, “Why is so little attention given to geothermal energy?”

The simple answer is there just aren’t many locations where nature has made geothermal energy easily available. Geothermal energy occurs naturally when water from surface sources like rain water, lakes or aquifers finds its way down through the earth to hot rock formations deep underground. When this water comes in contact with hot rock, hot water and steam may rise to the surface in the form of geysers or hot springs. Some of the better known natural geothermal locations are Yellowstone National Park and The Geysers in Northern California. While these locations make popular tourist attractions, they are also marvelous demonstrations of clean, renewable geothermal energy.

There are, however, many areas within the U.S. where geothermal energy could be used to generate electricity if only there was a way to get hot rock and water together. EGS in these locations could be the answer to our future energy needs.

AltaRock Energy is engaged in the development of new technology and techniques for Enhanced Geothermal Systems, or EGS for short. The concept of Enhanced Geothermal Systems is to create a geothermal reservoir by drilling a well to underground formations of hot rock, and opening natural fractures in the rock by injecting water at high pressure. By injecting water down this well, and circulating the water to similar production wells drilled nearby, the water can absorb heat from the rocks, producing hot water or steam that can be used to generate electricity. Refining EGS technology by identifying and developing natural underground formations where water can reliably flow in large quantities (and be heated to sufficient temperatures) is the real challenge.

The scientists, geologists and engineers at AltaRock Energy are hard at work perfecting Enhanced Geothermal Systems technology. You can follow the progress of the Newberry EGS Demonstration on Facebook at http://facebook.com/NewberryEGS.

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