Planetary Core Tap
- Working artifact versions of this technology have been put into operation. Unfortunately, these are far too massive to move intact to locations better suited for research, even using the Third Imperium's largest starships.
Core Taps bore deep into volcanically active planets using the planet's electromagnetically active core to generate power.
Most geothermal energy generators then use differentials from the surface temperature to the volcanically active core temperature. Other use electromagnetic properties or other energy sources than can be harnessed to create usable energy.
What is Geothermal Energy?
Geothermal power is power generated by geothermal energy, which is to say power generated by harnessing a planet's volcanic reactions. Technologies in use include dry steam power stations, flash steam power stations and binary cycle power stations among others. Geothermal power is considered to be a sustainable, renewable source of energy because the heat extraction is small compared with most planet's total heat content.
Low technology level versions of these mostly rely on pre-existing fissures that give access to the hot interior of a world. A Planetary Core Tap is essentially the same, just with an artificially drilled well, the drilling of which requires capabilities not available even at TL-15. The efficiency of conversion of heat to power also increases with higher technology levels.
It requires advanced technologies well in advance of the cutting TL-15 technologies mastered by Charted Space. Some estimate that practical versions of the technology will be developed by TL:16-18. Earlier versions of the technology have been used since as early as the late TL:1-3 epoch.
Geothermal electric stations were almost exclusively built where high-temperature geothermal resources are available near the surface in the TL:7-9 tech epoch. The development of viable binary cycle power plants and improvements in drilling and extraction technology allows enhanced geothermal systems over a much greater geographical range in the TL:10-12 tech epoch. The earlier planetary are taps are perfected and made available by the TL:13-15 tech epoch, but they can't even come close to matching the much superior mastery of the technology exhibited by surviving Ancient artifacts of the type.
Expected Geothermal Energy Development Sequence
- Geothermal Steam Power Generator → Geothermal Electric Flash Power Station → Geothermal Binary Cycle Reactor → Geothermal Supercritical Fluidic Reactor → Planetary Core Tap
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