Global warming: Efficiency in energy production

Interview to Professor Tester

L. Spairani

The Third World Conference on the Future of Science has been held in Venice in September 2007.

The Conference has examined the immense problem of future sources of energy, consonant with the Venice Charter’s declaration that major goals of applied scientific research must be:
- reduced use of fossil fuels
- expanded use of alternative energy sources.


During a press conference TDF staff had the opportunity to interview the Prof. J. Tester.

Dr. Jefferson Tester is the H.P. Meissner Professor of Chemical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Professor Tester currently teaches graduate and undergraduate subjects in thermodynamics and sustainable energy technologies and has won several teaching awards including the Department's Outstanding Faculty Member Award in 1986, 1987, 1990, 2001, and 2004 and the Institute-wide Graduate Student Council teaching award in 1990. He has completed a major revision of a core graduate thermodynamics textbook, Thermodynamics and Its Applications, 3rd edition, co-authored by M. Modell. In addition, he has recently co-authored a new textbook, Sustainable Energy Choosing Among Options, that addresses the multiple attributes and tradeoffs inherent to evaluating and selecting energy technologies for a wide range of applications

At the Venise conference prof. Tester was invited to have a talk on "The Future of Geothermal Energy as a Sustainable Pathway" in the panel "Energy: Present and future Sources ".
Recent international focus on the value of increasing our supply of indigenous, renewable energy underscores the need for re-evaluating all alternatives, particularly those that are large and well-distributed. To transition from our current hydrocarbon-based energy system, we will need to expand and diversify the portfolio of options we currently have. One such option that is often ignored or undervalued in assessments is geothermal energy from both conventional hydrothermal and enhanced or engineering geothermal systems (EGS).
A comprehensive assessment of enhanced or engineered geothermal systems (EGS) was carried out by an MIT-led, 18-member panel assembled to evaluate the potential of geothermal to become a major primary energy supply for the US. Although geothermal energy is used for both electric and non-electric applications worldwide from conventional hydrothermal resources, this study focused on the potential for EGS to provide 100,000 MWe of base-load electric generating capacity in the US by 2050. The presentation discussed the three areas important to EGS deployment on a large scale, namely:

1. Resource - estimating the magnitude and distribution of the US EGS resource
2. Technology - establishing requirements for extracting and utilizing energy from EGS reservoirs including drilling, reservoir design and stimulation, and thermal energy conversion to electricity
3. Economics - projecting costs for EGS supplied electricity as a function of invested R&D and deployment in evolving energy markets

Follow the link to download the interview he released to TDF:download .

[016.LS.TDF.2007 - 07.12.2007]