Word of the Week – Stable Isotopes

Stable Isotopes

Refers to non-radioactive isotopes of elements, including those of oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, sulfur, and nitrogen. In geothermal geochemistry, the stable isotope ratios of oxygen (18O/16O) and hydrogen (2H/1H) in thermal waters are used to trace its origin (e.g., meteoric, magmatic).

Did You Know … there is a mystical reason to travel to Monroe, Utah

 

Did you know… there is a mystical reason to travel to Monroe, Utah – the Mystic Hot Springs!

The Mystic Hot Springs are naturally occurring geothermal pools in Central Utah, about a three hour drive south from Salt Lake City. They have been used ever since the Indigenous People, including the Ute, Piute and Shoshone tribes, discovered them long before settlers came to the area. The Native Americans made camps near hot springs, taking advantage of the warm ground to help keep them warm on cold winter nights.

Since the hot springs were located along the Old Spanish Trail, a trade route linking New Mexico to California, settlers stopped to rest and rejuvenate in the warm waters. In 1886, Thomas Cooper homesteaded the hot springs, and in 1905 opened the first bathhouse, eventually adding guest cabins and even a dance hall.

 

The resort’s modern incarnation was created by a man named Mike Ginsburg, otherwise known as “Mystic Mike”. Ginsburg was traveling back to Denver in his bus in 1995 when he came across what is now the Mystic Hot Springs. Ginsburg and his wife purchased the resort and run it to this day.

In keeping with its history, “Mystic Mike” still offers overnight stays, campsites, concerts, and other events. There is also a menagerie of animals like peacocks, an emu, a llama and six ponds with a wide variety of fish, including tropical varieties thanks to the proximity of the thermal waters. He has added a vintage school bus repurposed as an overnight cabin.

As part of a restoration project currently underway at Mystic Hot Springs, historic cabins from across the surrounding valley are acquired, moved to the site and lovingly brought back to life. Known as the Pioneer Village, it currently has 15 cabins in different stages of their restoration, and fitted with more modern accommodations than were available at the time they served as a settler’s home!

The thermal waters contain a high amount of calcium carbonate, which forms the big mounds of minerals you see around the pools. The calcium carbonate precipitates from evaporation of hot spring and hardens to form a colorful material called travertine, which is a type of limestone.

 

Unlike is most hot springs, the H2S gas is not as prominent,  so the springs don’t have the distinctive “rotten egg” smell. Bathers can choose between individual bathtubs or larger pools to enjoy the naturally hot water, which runs between 99 and 100 degrees F, while admiring the colorful formations around them.

The Mystic Hot Springs are another example of geothermal waters being used by people across the ages. From Indigenous People to pioneers to modern day campers, they’ve all experienced everything this unique environment has to offer.

https://mystichotsprings.com/

https://recklessroaming.com/guide-mystic-hot-springs-monroe/

https://www.tophotsprings.com/mystic-hot-springs-utah/

https://tannawasilchak.com/travelguides/2020/7/14/mystic-hot-springs

https://www.bemytravelmuse.com/mystic-hot-springs-utah/

Word of the Week – Normal Fault

Normal Fault

High angle fault that results from extensional stress and forms a steeply dipping planar structure. Slip movement during an earthquake is vertical and down dip. The down-dropped block is called the hanging wall and the uplifted block is called the footwall.

Geothermal Webinar Series V1

Introduction to Fervo Energy - a next-generation

geothermal development company

Fervo is applying proven technologies from the unconventional oil and gas sector, such as horizontal drilling, multistage completions, and fiber optic diagnostics, to improve reservoir performance and lower the cost of geothermal energy. Over the last several years, we have deployed our technology at the field-scale through multiple pilot projects, including a commercial-scale demonstration project in northern Nevada. In this talk, I will review some of the key results from these field trials, and I will discuss opportunities for transferring technology innovations and lessons learned between the geothermal industry and the Utah FORGE project. In addition, I will highlight several recent trends in western US power markets that are driving tremendous growth opportunities for the geothermal industry.

Tuesday October 11 at 9:30 am Mountain time. Registration required.

Please welcome our inaugural speaker Jack Norbeck of Fervo Energy.

Dr. Jack Norbeck is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Fervo Energy, where he leads exploration and production activities. He is a geothermal reservoir engineer, with a focus on numerical reservoir simulation, geomechanics, and induced seismicity. Prior to Fervo Energy, Dr. Norbeck was a Mendehall Postdoctoral Fellow at the US Geological Survey. He holds a BS degree in civil engineering from University of Colorado, a MS degree in civil engineering from Colorado School of Mines, and a PhD degree in energy resources engineering from Stanford University. He was President of the SPE Student Chapter at Stanford University from 2014-2015.

Did You Know that renewable energy corridors can be the future of energy production?

Did You Know… Renewable Energy Corridors Can Be the Future of Energy Production?

In the Escalante desert of southwestern Utah, near the town of Milford, there are four different types of renewable energy: wind, solar, biogas, and geothermal. They’re all being used to produce energy at the same time. The co-location and concentration of such diverse renewable resources in the North Milford Valley is unique, and it serves as a model of what other renewable energy corridors might be able to achieve around the country.

Beaver County is sunnier  than 88% of the counties in the United States, so it’s no wonder that solar farms have been built there to capture the power of sunshine! The solar panels cover three square miles in total and produce approximately 620,000 megawatt hours (mwh) of electricity yearly. As for wind generation, the 30-mile long North Milford Valley funnels the prevailing south to north air flow. To harvest this energy, Utah’s largest wind farm, made up of 155 wind turbines, also generates approximately 620,000 mwh. But wind and solar generation are relative newcomers compared to geothermal energy, which has been running since 1984 and providing about 250,000 mwh of electricity yearly. Geothermal resources require special geological circumstances, and these were identified in the vicinity of Roosevelt Hot Springs in the 1970s. The Blundell power plant is the sole geothermal producer in the Renewable Energy Corridor, but work is underway to test a new type of geothermal resource, Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), nearby at Utah FORGE.

Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is created from the breakdown of animal waste. In fact, 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions globally are from livestock! By capturing the methane emissions from the decomposition of manure, instead of letting it be released directly into the atmosphere, it can instead be turned into a renewable form of natural gas. In this corridor there are 26 hog farms, making enough biogas to heat 3,000 homes. A natural gas pipeline running through the area provides a convenient way to transport this biogas out of the rural location and into more urban areas, where it can be used for heating.

What potential exists across the country to create similar renewable corridors? There are two equally crucial elements needed: the resources, and the infrastructure. For example, there are large swaths of land in the plains of North Dakota with great wind energy resources. But there are no transmission lines to run the electricity generated from the sparsely populated areas where the demand is low, to large population centers where it can be used. To harvest that wind, hundreds of miles of transmission lines would have to be built.

These renewable corridors have many benefits over single resource areas. The Renewable Energy Corridor in Beaver County supplies both electricity and natural gas, which is used to heat homes and cook food. Additionally, wind power can generate power at night, and solar can generate power when there is no wind. Whereas wind and solar are both dependent on weather conditions, geothermal can operate all day, every day. There may even be the option in the future to use geothermal as a battery for the intermittent renewables, or waste heat from the geothermal power plant could be used to promote biogas production in winter when the cold temperatures slow it down.

If there’s more solar and wind energy being generated than is being used at a given time, that excess energy could be stored as heat in the ground, to be extracted later. This balances out the supply and demand sides of the grid.

Factors to consider:

  • Resource (sun, wind, geothermal)
  • Space (physical space, distance from people (fumes, odor, noise, etc.))
  • Site access (set-up and maintenance)
  • Grid/pipeline connection
  • Environment (won’t impact groundwater, endangered species, cause erosion, etc.)

General

https://www.sltrib.com/news/2021/11/02/utahs-renewable-energy/

Geothermal

https://geology.utah.gov/map-pub/survey-notes/ugs-is-major-partner-in-large-geothermal-project-near-milford-utah/

Solar

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/07/13/map-where-americas-sunniest-and-least-sunny-places-are/

https://www.power-technology.com/marketdata/escalante-solar-i-pv-park-us/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escalante_Solar_Project

https://www.arcgis.com/apps/mapviewer/index.html?layers=831bc77130f14125a5b9ebefed72a3f1

Biogas

https://alignrng.com/

https://www.nationalgrid.com/stories/energy-explained/what-is-biogas

https://www.arcgis.com/apps/mapviewer/index.html?layers=9833ca6c8103490b8ad145a30f0522ee

Wind

https://www.renewablesfirst.co.uk/windpower/windpower-learning-centre/what-makes-a-good-wind-power-site/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milford_Wind

https://www.toddklassy.com/montana-blog/mean-average-wind-speed-across-the-united-states

https://windexchange.energy.gov/maps-data/325

A MW hour is the actual electricity generated. Same as the kw hour on your electricity bill. The total capacity of the turbine, rated in MW, assumes 100% performance. The turbine doesn’t spin all the time.