The future of heating and cooling might be beneath our feet. A special effort that is being in the next three years to identify the best sources.

The state Division of Geology and Land Survey is getting about 300-thousand dollars to develop a comprehensive map of geothermal sources in Missouri and to assess possible new sources. Missouri’s mapping program is part of a national effort involving 45 other states.

But the principle investigator on the project, Scott Kaden, says the geothermal sources his people will be charting aren’t the kinds of geothermal resources most people imagine. “We don’t have hot springs like you would think of,” he says, “but… the ground anywhere acts as a source of energy because it’s constant.”

Kaden and his staff know of about 3,000 ground source heat pump systems—devices that use geothermal energy. Historic publications also will provide information about the thousands of water wells that can be used to assess the temperatures at various levels underground and the various kinds of heat-storing rocks.

Most of the information already is on file, so much information that the main part of the three-year effort will be spent organizing it and charting it.

Bob Priddy interviews Scott Kaden 11:03 mp3