2010 Archives

The heat beneath our feet

Geothermal energy is gaining ground in Texas


The following is from the June 27, 2010, edition of The San Antonio Express-News and includes references to the geothermal program at SMU.

July 1, 2010

By Colin McDonald
The San Antonio Express-News

Miles below Texas are zones of hot, pressurized brine that for decades posed a liability to drillers and rendered oil and gas wells worthless.

Now, new wildcatters are going after those same pools in the name of green energy. They want to use the pressure and heat to make electricity.

If successful, they will introduce a new source of clean power to the grid that has the potential to exceed all other sources.

According to a report by the Southern Methodist University Geothermal Laboratory, the hot water and pressure between 8,000 and 25,000 feet below Texas could supply more than 100 times the state's 2008 total electric consumption for well over a century.

The concept and technology of using the hot water from old oil and gas wells have been around in various forms since the 1960s. Since then, more than half a million oil and gas wells have been drilled in Texas. The challenge always has been to make electricity production economical from those wells. . .

Southern Methodist University received $5 million to create a national geothermal database cataloging the millions of wells drilled across the country that could be used to generate electricity.

Read the full story.

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