Mount Doom And The Power Within: Alternative Energy (Part 2)
December 15, 2013

Mount Doom And The Power Within: Alternative Energy (Part 2)

Be sure to read Part 1.

Let’s pretend that Frodo is a modern day engineer. He completed his valiant quest to Mount Doom and left inspired by the sheer power contained within this volcano. He was amazed by the eruption that destroyed the Ring and everything around it. Our little friend wants to harness the volcano’s energy for practical use in Hobbiton.

In order to do this, he has several options, none of which include scalding himself with magna. Firstly, he could utilize the rocks surrounding Mount Doom.

This procedure is currently being tested in Oregon, near the Newberry Volcano. AltaRock Energy and Davenport Newberry are both interested in pursuing the idea.

Steam into electricity seems like a clean and innovative thought on the base level. However, these subterranean electricity turbines resemble a technique known as hydraulic fracturing.

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, has been around since the 1940s. It is a stimulation process that is somewhat controversial.  Water, chemicals, and sand are pumped at a high velocity into a well.  This mixture “fractures” the rock layer and allows for greater access to energy sources like natural gas.

Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved this procedure in 2005, concerns were raised again in 2010. People became concerned about the impact on the water supply and the changing composition of the land.  Research studies were launched to further understand this technique.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t like people messing up my drinking water.

Some argue that fracking also increases the risk of earthquakes.  It makes the land unstable and unpredictable. Following that line of thinking, how safe is it to disturb the ground around a volcano? How does the phrase go? Let sleeping dogs lie? I would rather not prod a giant zit that happens to be full of lava instead of neutrophils. But hey, maybe that is just me.

The Newberry Volcano (where fracking is being tested) is not dormant. In fact, the US Geological Survey states that it will likely erupt again. Volcanoes are not exactly friendly creatures; perhaps we should not bombard them with squirt guns?

I could be taking the overly cautious route. AltaRock Energy and Davenport Newberry could prove me wrong. New ideas are always met with some apprehension. I just do not like the idea of “innovating” and accidentally burning my face off. Maybe we should look to the oceans instead? Get excited for the final post in this series, Tsunami Waves And Burning Leaves: Alternative Energy (Part 3)!

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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