Sunday, October 26, 2008

Digging Deep with Google SketchUp

A core piece of Google's efforts to fight global warming is our Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal initiative. We've created a series of tools demonstrating a new renewable energy technology called Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS). We're extremely excited about EGS as it has enormous potential to create huge amounts of inexpensive renewable energy. The centerpiece of our campaign to explain EGS is a Google SketchUp model of an EGS power plant.

EGS works because it's very hot underneath the Earth and by drilling a well into it, you can extract heat to create electricity. To do that, you have to drill 2 or more wells and fracture the rock down there to connect the wells. Once the wells are connected, cold water is sent down one well and hot water is brought up from the other one.

To demonstrate this process, we created 3 SketchUp models that show the world's first commercial EGS system in the Cooper Basin in Australia. The models not only show the power plant and drill rigs above ground but also go underground to show the drill holes and, most interestingly, the fracture cloud that connects the two wells. You can view the models in the collection on the 3D Warehouse.

Because EGS is such a nascent technology, we think SketchUp can play a big role in helping people visualize and understand the EGS industry and we hope that geothermal developers will post their projects to the Google 3D Warehouse.

Posted by David Bercovich, Program Manager,

Link - from SketchUpdate

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