Two Major Geothermal Projects Abandoned Due to Induced Quake Risk

Two high-profile geothermal projects in the U.S. and Europe were both permanently halted late last week, after federal officials in both countries questioned their safety and propensity to cause earthquakes. Projects in Basel, Switzerland, and in northern California were both abandoned, raising questions about the danger of purposefully cracking open the Earth to extract its heat.

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Arpa-E, Government's Mad Science Lab for Energy, Funds First Projects

Like Darpa on the military side, the new agency for stoking energy innovation awards $151 million to big ideas

Darpa's addiction to out-of-this world schemes has rubbed off in the best way on the government's more peaceful push for an energy revolution. Liquid metal batteries, bacteria that convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into gasoline, and artificial enzymes for carbon capture represent just a few of the 37 projects that have received $151 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's new ARPA-E agency.

The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (Arpa-E) takes its inspiration from the Department of Defense's mad science lab Darpa, and has $400 million in initial funding to help seed a number of cutting-edge projects over the next two years. Among the first round projects, 43 percent are small businesses, 35 percent are educational institutions, and 19 percent are large corporations.

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Nanotech Could Boost Geothermal Power and Reduce Earthquake Risk

Tapping geothermal sources for power has proven a tricky proposition, because of costs and hazards associated with deep drilling. But researchers may have stumbled on a way to boost the power-producing potential of low-temperature hot springs close to the Earth's surface, using nanotechnology.

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Jets of 7200°F Hydrogen Cut Through Granite at 100 Feet per Hour

Tired of wearing out diamond bits when you're drilling miles deep into the earth's crust? Try using a high-velocity flame jet instead

Inspired by designs created by his father decades ago, Jared Potter is building an arsenal of ultra-powerful flame-jet drills. As seen in the NatGeo video above, one prototype directs a jet of burning hydrogen at 3200°F against a slab of solid granite.

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