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Directory:Marshall Hydrothermal Recovery System

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Page first featured October 22, 2009

Bruce Marshall proposes a hydrothermal system that would harness the vast energy available from deep sea hydrothermal vents in which water seeps into near-surface magma, where it is continuously heated and ejected through vents at around 750 degrees Fahrenheit (400 C) -- hot enough to melt lead. The hot water and minerals would be brought to the surface in a matter of about a dozen minutes through insulated pipes (resulting in minimal temperature drop), and the heated fluid would then be used to turn turbines.

The vent output is very consistent and energy dense and at very high volumes. For example, a 3m pipe would be cranking out this hot water at a rate of 21,000 liters (5,000 gallons) per second, which is like a small residential swimming pool of superheated water every second. Computer modeling has shown the heated water has a producible energy density of about 1 megawatt per 10 cm2 pipe area.

This is a brand new, previously untouched, energy source -- a discovery on the scale of man's harnessing nuclear power, but cleaner and potentially cheaper.

National Geographic estimates the power of just the known worldwide vents at around 17 million megawatts, with thousands of miles of ocean still unexplored. It's difficult to estimate the quality and number of vents that are convenient enough to be practical, but Marshall believes that several thousand gigawatts of power are recoverable worldwide-- the equivalent of perhaps 1,000 or more nuclear power plants.

As the hydrothermal fluid rises it carries with it some of the richest ores to be found anywhere, laden with just about every metal and mineral that we mine the surface for now, including iron, gold, silver, copper, zinc, cadmium, manganese, and sulfur, with significant amounts of methane gas mixed into the fluid. Halides, sulphates, chromates, molybdates and tungstates are also abundant. For this reason, the best surface mines are located over hydrothermal veins of the geologic past. Also, as the water component of the fluid flashes to steam it can be recovered as distilled water.

Marshall calculates that a pilot plant could be built for 75% the capital cost of a nuclear plant (around $4.5 billion), with approximately the same output of around 2 gigawatts. Eventually, a single plant with a 3-meter pipe, could power 20 million homes -- 5 times more than the largest nuclear plant. Though the capital costs would be high, the energy cost could compete with the cheapest power available today since there is no fuel to buy. However, because this is more than just an energy system, capital costs would likely be split among energy, mining, and water interests.

As for practical considerations, much of the engineering has yet to be worked out. But the oil industry has developed the off-shore platform technology to the point that would work for this application. To contain the heat and avoid corrosion, ceramics (e.g. by Ceramatech of Salt Lake) lining the pipes could be used. Marshall has also filed a patent for a method of transmitting the power to land via light cables rather than electricity. Once developed, it promises to reduce the cost of the systems substantially by eliminating the need for extremely expensive undersea cables and replacing them with hollow steel pipes.

The reception by the scientific community has been very positive. The reception by business interests has been less enthusiastic, given the capital cost for a pilot plant for a yet-unproven methodology. No politicians have become advocates yet. There is no doubt this is a workable idea. It's just a question of cost and political will.

Contents

About

Official Website


Interview

How it Works

Image:How Marshall Hydrothermal works crop jp70.jpg

The Marshall Hydrothermal Recovery System proposes to cap deep sea hydrothermal vents so that their flow is fed into a continuous, highly insulated pipe, which leads to a floating platform located on the surface above the vent. The superheated fluid is carried by means of flow velocity, convection, conduction, and flash steam pressure as it rises and the ambient pressure is decreased.

Once delivered to the platform, the heat energy contained in the fluid can be extracted to generate electricity.

See also:

Videos

Costs

Several billion dollars per plant which would produce power equivalent to a very large nuclear plant.

Advantages

  • Constant power source
  • High density
  • Mineral mining applications

Patents

In process of filing PCT international in 30 countries.

Application: Hydrothermal Vent Power

  • US 20090013690; Hydrothermal energy and deep sea resource recovery system; Marshall, Bruce (Santa Paula, CA, US); 01/15/2009
Abstract 
A system that utilizes the naturally superheated fluids available from hydrothermal vents to harness the almost limitless quantities of heat energy they contain. It consists of one major system that has three parts: (i) funnel, (ii) pipes, and (iii) any combination of several mechanical attachments. The recovered heat energy will then be used to drive steam turbines or other equipment for electricity generation, water desalination, or any other thermal energy use. It could also be simultaneously or separately fed into resource recovery equipment for the recovery of valuable metals, minerals, and chemicals without system modification.

Application: Transmitting Power via Light Pipes

Bruce Marshall wrote: "I have [filed] a second patent which addresses the issue of submarine cable. It is very expensive, takes forever to manufacture, and it's difficult to lay. My second patent is called the LightPipe™, and it uses a hollow steel pipe as the conductor, and it uses photons instead of electrons as the power carrying medium. It is essentially fiber optic without the fiber, and it was jointly patented by me and the University of Central Florida." (Oct. 21, 2009)

  • US 2009/0206697 A1 - Method for Generating, Transmitting and recieving power; Marhall et al.; Santa Paula, CA, US; Aug. 20, 2009
Abstract 
A system and method for generating, transmitting and receiving power includes providing a source of non-optical power, such as thermal energy, which is converted into electricty. The non-optical power is converted into an optical power beam which is directed into a hollow pipe and transmitted along a length thereof. The hollow pipe may have an inner reflective surface, or lenses or collimators direct the light therethrough. Upon exiting the hollow pipe, the optical power beam is converted into electricty.

Profiles

Company: Marshall Hydrothermal

Inventor: Bruce Marshall

Coverage

In the News


  • Featured: Geothermal >
    Marshall Hydrothermal System for Harnessing Deep Sea Vents (Interview) - Bruce Marshall has filed a patent for a hydrothermal system that would harness the vast energy available from deep sea hydrothermal vents in which water seeps into near-surface magma, where it is continuously heated and ejected through vents at around 750 degrees Fahrenheit. The hot water and minerals would be brought to the surface to turn turbines. (PESWiki; Oct. 22, 2009) (Comment)
  • Mining Hydrothermal Vents For Renewable Electricity, Drinking Water + Valuable Minerals - The Marshall Hydrothermal Recovery System would use the heat from hydrothermal vents 7,000 feet under the sea to make electricity. Its temperature is incredibly high, 750 degrees Fahrenheit; hot enough to melt lead, but it does not boil because of the intense pressures at the depths where the vents are located. (Clean Technica; September 4th, 20090

Other Coverage

Comments

See Discussion page

Sending Power via Light is Absurd

On October 22, 2009, New Energy Congress member, Eric Krieg wrote:

I have worked with fiber optics for years. I can tell you that Marshall's "invention" of sending power as photons down pipes is just absurd. I've gotten maybe a few watts down fiber that is made to handle it - but the idea is silly. There is no simple way to convert huge amounts of power into light. Light sets up self interference patterns and has large losses down long lengths of anything even on media designed to promote its flow . . . . . and there is no simple way to turn light back into power. I like the idea of tapping undersea geo power - there is a lot of energy there and all the minerals - but the guy lost all credibility with me when he just shoots from the hip with his power transmission idea.

Contact

Bruce Marshall
email: info@marshallsystem.com

See also

GEOTHERMAL

TYPES OF GEOTHERMAL

GEOTHERMAL-RELATED

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