It's hot down there, inside the Earth. And to tap that energy, all we need is giant holes in the ground.
Giant holes can sometimes be a bit expensive to dig, but there's some good news. The world already has a bunch of giant holes...from centuries of coal mining and exploration. And as any early 20th century coal miner will tell you, it can get hot down there.
The Dutch town of Heerlin has just discovered how useful old coal mines can be. An abandoned coal mine that's since flooded with ground water is being re-purposed to provide heat and hot water to 350 businesses and residents. The heat in the mine water is exchanged into clean drinking water so, no, the residents aren't drinking coal sludge.
Unfortunately, a fix for 350 people is not a fix for the world. But there are certainly no shortage of mine shafts in the world, we'll just have to see if the Dutch (or someone else) is able to scale it up.
written by Dan Roscoe, December 11, 2008
written by Fred, July 21, 2009
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