Cheap power for tomorrow: 5 projects

Tapping the sun, the oceans and the wind, these entrepreneurial ventures are actively pursuing new energy sources. Excerpted from The Plot to Save the Planet.

1 of 5
Power from the Earth's crust
A recent report by MIT and the Department of Energy concluded that geothermal energy derived from the heat in the Earth's crust could provide the U.S. alone with the equivalent power of 100 nuclear plants by 2050 - or about 20% of the nation's current electricity - and do it while emitting only trace amounts of greenhouse gas.

The start-up Geodynamics seems the furthest along in trying to build the world's first commercial, deep-underground geothermal plant. So far the Australian company, which has sunk more than $100 million into its Habenero project, is drilling holes into the hot, dry rocks some 3 miles beneath the surface of the barren lands of South Australia. The idea is that these cracks or breaks in the rock will allow water to seep through and become heated. A power plant on the surface would draw hot water out of this well, convert its energy into electricity, then pump the cooled water down a second well, establishing a flow of water through the underground reservoir.

Geodynamics hopes to have its plant up and running by 2010.

NEXT: Google Solar
LAST UPDATE: Jul 01 2008 | 1:08 PM ET
Sponsored by
More Galleries
Commuting is getting easier. Here's why The MobiPrize, conducted by SMART at the University of Michigan, recognizes innovation in global transportation. From microcars to auto rickshaws, these six startups are some of the standouts. More
A sampling of beers being made with traditional Latin flavors A small but growing number of craft breweries are including passion fruit, Mexican cinnamon and other traditional Latin flavors. More
Banks won't lend? Use these guys instead Banks often have exhaustive approval processes, high minimums, and flawless credit requirements. But there's a wealth of non-bank alternatives for those who need capital fast. Here are some of the leaders. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.