Posted: Mar 14, 2022 11:58 am
by Cito di Pense
newolder wrote:
tuco wrote:I am curious what the actual number would be, say in gigawatts. That's how one gets investors interested .. it can produce as much electricity as xyz nuclear powerplants. 10^? really big right? :)

Lord Kelvin's 1862 musings on "The Secular Cooling of the Earth" give a starting point to which we must add radioactive decay and the modern science of materials to conclude that the Earth's internal heat source flows to the surface at a rate close to 50 Terawatts: wiki link.

Probably not the number you seek but it's a guide to further guesses...

In fact, from that wiki article:

Despite its geological significance, Earth's interior heat contributes only 0.03% of Earth's total energy budget at the surface, which is dominated by 173,000 TW of incoming solar radiation.

I say we just paper over the surface with solar collectors and boil the biosphere a little more quickly than is otherwise expected, and then fix that problem with a nuclear winter.