LJWorld Green

KU begins work on geothermal energy project

June 18, 2010


Geologists from the University of Kansas have begun a $4 million research project on geothermal energy.

The university says the three-year project is aimed at making it easier to power electric plants with geothermal energy.

The project is funded partly with $2.4 million from the U.S. Department of Energy. Other funding comes from the university's Geology Department, the University of Oklahoma and the Sierra Geothermal Power Corp.

Associate professor of geology Daniel Stockli and two students began mapping a region in Nevada this month as an initial phase of the project. The team plans to create 3-D maps of the area to assess its underground temperature history.


jaywalker 3 years, 10 months ago

Excellent point of research! Godspeed in your endeavors.


deathpenaltyliberal 3 years, 10 months ago

"lawrenceguy40 (anonymous) says… ... this money in barry o's depression..."

The correct terms are "Bush recession" and "President Obama".


Pantoozo 3 years, 10 months ago

KU will be able to save millions by getting rid of oil and coal for heat.


Danimal 3 years, 10 months ago

I think we're going to have to move away from the model of having huge, centralized power plants of any kind and move towards each property being a micro-power plant. I'm not sure that gigantic wind farms or endless fields of solar panels are the answer. But if everyone had a couple solar panels, a small wind turbine, and/or a geothermal well at their home I think we can resolve a lot of the energy crunch.

I've always heard that geothermal is probably the least viable of the renewable energies in this part of the country. I have a friend that is an architect. A couple years ago she designed and built a house in KC that had solar, wind and geothermal power, and the geothermal was the least productive for the investment.


lawrenceguy40 3 years, 10 months ago

$2.4 million of hard working taxpayers' money thrown down a hole in the ground!

You've got to admire the bare-faced gall of those liberal profs, for even suggesting they take this money in barry o's depression. If they could direct that attitude to the business world and start giving instead of taking, the US may be in much better shape.



mdfraz 3 years, 10 months ago

I concur none2. Very reasoned and well written post. You don't see those too often here. And I happen to agree pretty much 100% with your views.


Ken Lassman 3 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for the clear posting, none2!


none2 3 years, 10 months ago

I think people are confusing multiple alternative forms of energy. Unfortunately, the term geothermal has been used so liberally that it conjures up multiple images...

While the article didn't state more details, I'm guessing that these geologists are talking about a large source of heat below the surface of the ground. Nevada doesn't come to my mind as having such heat, but I'm not a geologist. Simple examples, to think about are Yellow Stone, WY; New Zealand; or Iceland. There is so much heat from underground magma that there are hot springs. One can either capture the heat or the steam heated water directly to power electrical plants.

A different use of the term geothermal is for ground-source heating & cooling. Such a system isn't used for generating electricity, but for transporting heat from one place to another. In the case of cooling, you are moving heat from your house to the ground. For heating, you are moving heat from the ground into your house. A regular heat pump works on the same principle but instead of the ground, it uses the outside air. (Even in winter there is some "heat" in the air.)

As for coils in the floor, I bet that esj2003 is referring to a radiant heated flooring system.

I think the future holds many diverse energy solutions for humankind compared to what we have now. While I don't live in daily fear of some carbon-esque apocalypse , I think such a diverse energy future is good for national security, our posperity, and as well the environment. Of course the biggest and cheapest thing to help with our energy needs is to push for more energy efficiency. Insulation in our homes, and energy efficient vehicles and appliances will go a long way to reduce our energy needs.


esj2003 3 years, 10 months ago

I forget what bank, but there is a bank building in Greensburg that uses geothermal coils to heat its floors (then heat rises per 3rd grade science lessons) during the winter. There is no cost to it after the initial installation. Whatever excess heat they need after that is produced from wind and solar energy. Greensburg actually produces more green energy than the town needs. Some day... Some day that will be everyone else, too.


tomatogrower 3 years, 10 months ago

I'm wishing all the luck to these guys. I hope they find the answer, so we can stop or at least slow down the oil and coal usage. I hope you are the ones to find an answer to the mess we've made of this world. My grandkids are counting on it.


Kontum1972 3 years, 10 months ago

and no basketball tickets were harmed in the making of this energy....


Paul R Getto 3 years, 10 months ago

Good project; there is lots of untapped potential here and we need to exploit it as we transform our uses of energy.


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