New Mexico Tech tests the waters of geothermal heat

The university has introduced plans for a geothermal plant and graduate engineering program.

06/22/2009


 

According to an Associated Press report , amongst other renewable

energy research projects, New Mexico Tech , Socorro, N.M.,

rolled out a plan to heat the university using naturally warm groundwater,

which would save the university $800,000 in natural gas bills annually.

The U.S.

Department of Energy has already awarded $473,000 to drill a 1,500-ft

geothermal test well; although private-sector businesses may need to help

finance the rest of the $11 million geothermal plant.

While power-producing

geothermal stations require very-hot groundwater to spin a turbine, New Mexico

Tech's direct-use space heating approach would use the region's warm groundwater,

and a heat exchanger to heat buildings.

"A

lot can be done with warm groundwater," said the university's vice

president for research, Dr. Van Romero. "You can heat a fish tank or heat

a greenhouse and grow roses."

If the plant is built, it

could heat the entire campus and the university could turn the hot topic of

geothermal energy into a graduate engineering program that would complement its

already world-class hydrogeology department.





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