Harness volcano power, energy experts say
Volcanoes and hot springs could supply up to 25 per cent of America's power needs, energy experts have said.If they only knew: US volcano may hold key to UK oil reserves
As fuel prices soar, Alaskan officials announced the exploration of the state's volcanoes, saying they could be exploited to provide energy for thousands of homes.
Companies are being invited to lease the rights to explore geothermal resources beneath Mount Spurr, a snowcapped 11,070-foot volcano that most recently erupted in 1992 showering much of Anchorage with volcanic ash.
The state Division of Oil and Gas hopes the lease sale, due to go ahead in August, will be the first of many. It is also considering allowing exploration of the 4,134-foot Augustine Volcano, 171 miles southwest of Anchorage.
The move echoes a trend underway across much of the US as fuel prices, worries about dependence on foreign oil and climate change trigger a surge in geothermal projects, particularly in the West and along the Gulf Coast.
According to experts, America is only just waking up to the ancient power source lying beneath dozens of states that has the potential to supply as much as 25 percent of the nation's energy needs.
An extinct volcano in the US may hold the key to extending the life of North Sea oilfields and squeezing an extra 17pc of untapped reserves out of them.Arctic Volcanoes Found Active at Unprecedented Depths
Malcolm Wicks, the energy minister, is visiting the site near Jackson City in Mississippi to see how carbon dioxide is extracted deep underground before being piped 60 miles to force out oil from an old field.
With an estimated 25bn barrels of oil equivalent left to exploit in the North Sea, Mr Wicks said it would be increasingly challenging and would need innovative technologies to tap the remaining reserves.
He added: "This project uses pressurised carbon dioxide which could also be captured from industrial plants so it would mean a plus for the environment too."
Denbury Resources, the biggest oil and gas operator in the state, has successfully exploited carbon injection techniques in Mississippi and elsewhere to recover significant quantities of reserves from mature reservoirs, and it believes the technology can be successfully developed in the North Sea.
Buried under thick ice and frigid water, volcanic explosions are shaking the Arctic Ocean floor at depths previously thought impossible, according to a new study.And just as we have suspected all along: volcanoes: the advantages
Using robot-operated submarines, researchers have found deposits of glassy rock—evidence of eruptions—scattered over more than 5 square miles (15 square kilometers) of the seabed.
Explosive volcanic eruptions were not thought to be possible at depths below the critical pressure for steam formation, or 2 miles (3,000 meters). The deposits, however, were found at seafloor depths greater than 2.5 miles (4 kilometers).
"This kind of implosive seismicity is rare anywhere on Earth," said study author Robert Sohn, a geophysicist at the Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
The study appears today in the Journal Nature.
New evidence has also emerged that volcanic areas can be prime petroleum sources. Geothermal systems can also serve an important part in petroleum generation, migration, and entrapment. Many oil-bearing seafloor sediments have been found near hydrothermal vents at midocean ridges. Shell Oil Company also found much oil in volcanic regions in Nevada in 1954, leading to the discovery that volcanic ignimbrites are excellent storage spots for oil pools.