Can We Really Escape The Grip Of Fossil Fuels Ep 727

A conceptual 3d model of drilling into planet earth, for clean geothermal energy. Transform Your Clean Energy And English Skills

📝 Author: Hilary

📅 Published:

💬 3723 words ▪️ ⏳ Reading Time 19 min

📥 Download MP3 & PDF 13.3 Mb ▪️ 👓 Read Transcript ▪️ 🎧 Listen to Lesson

English Listening Practice That Will Enhance You Listening Skills With Exciting Topics

Today we have an English listening practice lesson which takes a look at how well clean energy is doing in 2024 and explores the question is a clean energy future really possible? If you want to improve your English vocabulary, boost your listening comprehension skills and find out some pretty interesting things, which you should definitely care about. Join us today in another great English lesson!

Join us and: Boost Vocabulary: Learn the latest in scientific terms. Enhance Listening Skills: Tune into a real-world conversation. From Beginner to Advanced: Lessons tailored for all levels.

✔Lesson transcript:

Renewable energy is no longer a niche fuel.
⭐ Fatih Birol

In this lesson, you dive into a world where English learning meets real-life innovation, gaining not just language skills but insight into cutting-edge solutions for our planet. You'll absorb complex scientific concepts, enriched with specific vocabulary, making your English both fluent and informed.

It's about connecting language learning with curiosity and knowledge, embodying a journey that extends far beyond grammar into the realms of global solutions and scientific progress.

Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity - not a threat.
⭐ Steve Jobs

🌱 Join us for a journey through language and innovation. Your fluency is just a lesson away!

More About This Lesson

Join us in an exciting lesson that blends English learning with the latest in clean energy innovations. Get ready to explore how we can power our world without harm and boost your English skills along the way.

The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.
⭐ Robert Swan
  1. Boosts listening skills.
  2. Expands scientific vocabulary.
  3. Teaches pronunciation.
  4. Introduces renewable energy concepts.
  5. Explains complex ideas simply.
  6. Encourages research skills.
  7. Uses real-world examples.
  8. Offers hope and innovation insights.
  9. Connects English learning with current issues.
  10. Promotes continuous language immersion.
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
⭐ Native American Proverb

In this unique lesson, you'll not only improve your English fluency but also gain insights into cutting-edge solutions for a sustainable future. Here's what's in store for you:

  • Learn vital English and science words: Expand your vocabulary with important terms from both the language and the world of green technology.
  • Enhance listening skills with exciting topics: Keep your ears sharp and your mind engaged with fascinating discussions on renewable energy and eco-friendly innovations.
  • Dive into green tech for a brighter future: Understand how advancements in science are paving the way for a cleaner, greener planet.

Ready to boost your English and discover the future of clean energy? Follow and subscribe for more enlightening lessons that combine language learning with real-world issues. Don't miss out on the chance to grow your language skills and your understanding of vital environmental technologies!

Frequently Asked Questions About Learning English & Clean Energy Solutions

Unlock the power of the earth's core, just as this lesson unlocks the potential of your English. It's an adventure into the future of energy and language learning.

  1. How can I improve my English while learning about clean energy? To enhance your English skills while exploring clean energy solutions, engage with materials that cover scientific vocabulary and real-world applications, like the MIT and Quaise project on geothermal energy. Listening to specialized English lessons on this topic helps you understand complex ideas in simple terms, expanding both your language skills and knowledge on important environmental issues.
  2. What is the role of technology in solving the global energy crisis? Technology plays a crucial role in addressing the global energy crisis by developing alternative, sustainable energy sources. The exploration of geothermal energy by MIT and Quaise, for instance, demonstrates innovative approaches to harnessing the Earth's natural heat, offering a clean, renewable energy solution that doesn't rely on fossil fuels.
  3. Why is renewable energy important for English learners interested in science and technology? Renewable energy is a key topic for English learners with an interest in science and technology because it intersects with global challenges and innovation. Learning about renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and geothermal introduces learners to essential scientific vocabulary and concepts, helping them become fluent in discussing current and future technological solutions in English.
  4. Can listening to English podcasts on topics like clean energy help me speak more fluently? Yes, listening to English podcasts on topics like clean energy can significantly improve your fluency. This approach immerses you in specific vocabulary and sentence structures, enhancing your listening comprehension and speaking skills. It's a practical way to learn new terms and phrases within the context of meaningful conversations about pressing global issues.
  5. Where can I find more English learning resources related to science and technology? For more English learning resources focused on science and technology, explore educational websites, podcasts, and YouTube channels dedicated to teaching English through content about innovations, environmental science, and technological advancements. Adept English, for example, offers a variety of lessons and courses designed to boost your fluency while engaging with interesting and relevant topics.

Most Unusual Words:

  • Quaise: A company working with MIT to solve the global energy crisis using clean energy.
  • Fossil fuels: Fuels that come from the ground, like coal, gas, and oil.
  • Renewable: Sources of energy that don't harm the planet and won't run out, like wind and solar power.
  • Turbine: A big machine, like a windmill, that captures wind energy.
  • Concrete: A material made with cement, used to build things and secure turbines in the ground.
  • Nuclear: A type of energy made from splitting atoms, which can be used to make electricity.
  • Geothermal activity: Heat from the earth, used in places like Iceland to generate energy.
  • Hverabrauth: Icelandic "hot spring bread", baked using heat from the earth.
  • Drill: To make a hole in something, like the earth, using a machine.
  • Gyrotrons: Machines used in a new type of drilling with energy beams, related to fusion energy.

Most Frequently Used Words:


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Transcript: Can We Really Escape The Grip Of Fossil Fuels

Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

Clean Energy Tech: Today's challenges and how Geothermal Energy may be the answer we’ve all been hoping for!

Hi there. Today let's talk about the problems that technology must overcome to provide a cleaner, greener future for all of us, without fossil fuels. Let's talk today about how scientists at MIT and a company called 'Quaise', that's Q-U-A-I-S-E - how they may have found the answer. This is a technology 'good news story'! Hear about how we may be about to solve one of the biggest problems of our times, solving the world's energy crisis. And hear about it all while enhancing your English listening skills and learning some good scientific vocabulary at the same time. Sounds good doesn't it? This story isn't just about technology but it's about hope, innovation, the future of our planet even. So stay with me and polish your English skills while we cover this fascinating topic. It's really exciting, isn't it when people come up with new technology which solves the world's problems?

Can we live our lives without fossil fuels?

And that's exactly what I've been reading about this week. MIT and a company called Quaise may be on the way to completely solving the global energy crisis. How do we generate energy without ruining our planet? So-called 'clean energy'. It's that old story. We're worried about CO2 and we don't want to rely on fossil fuels. 'Fossil fuels' means 'fuels that come from the ground' - coal, gas, oil. But we also consume a lot of energy and we don't want to stop. It's how we heat our houses and how we generate electricity so we can use all those lovely things like computers, mobile phones, televisions, cars, hair dryers. That last one's very close to my heart! All the comforts of our modern life and things like healthcare and food production all rely on energy. Nobody wants to go back to the Middle Ages. It would be even more difficult if you'd known modern life before it! So scientists have been working on this big problem and making some progress.


A concept illustration of drilling for geothermal energy on planet earth. Green Energy & Fluent English Await

©️ Adept English 2024

So the current situation. We talk about 'renewable energy'. That's R-E-N-E-W-A-B-L-E. 'Renewable' means sources of energy which don't dirty the planet and which keep on working, which don't run out. So by this we usually mean wind power, solar power - so that's from the sun - wave power. We're trying all of these things. But each of these possible solutions has problems. The technology is not quite there.

Wind turbines: solution or environmental cost?

Take wind for example and wind turbines. That's 'turbine', T-U-R-B-I-N-E. Those are huge machines, those windmills that are there to capture wind energy. They are marvels of engineering, but they depend on the weather. If there's no wind, they're not generating any energy. And if the wind blows above a certain speed, wind turbines have to be switched off or they're not safe. Wind turbines are not that efficient and they alone are never going to generate enough energy for our needs.

If you consider how wind turbines are made, there's a lot of metal in there and a huge amount of concrete, C-O-N-C-R-E-T-E. 'Concrete' is needed to secure them safely into the ground. So there is a risk that the construction of a wind turbine might actually use up more energy than it creates. Or it may take years to pay back that energy. And you have to look after them. You have to maintain and repair them. And that's expensive. And it's just not practical to cover the land in wind turbines. In some places, like where I live in the UK, it's just not very windy. I've never seen a wind turbine where I live. It wouldn't be worth having one because there's little wind. I guess this is why we put them in the sea. It's windier there. But those ones are even more expensive to maintain. Either way, if you research wind turbines thoroughly, they are not a solution on their own. And that's the same for the other renewable energy sources like solar and wave. They're podcast subjects in their own right, perhaps.

Nuclear power: safety or risky?

Another possibility is nuclear energy. That's N-U-C-L-E-A-R, ‘nuclear’. That's the British English pronunciation, of course. ‘Nuclear’. In US pronunciation, it's more like 'nuclear'. I can't even say that properly, but 'nuclear'.

So nuclear energy might be a more viable option. You could have small-scale nuclear plants all around your country to generate energy locally. But if you're old enough to remember Chernobyl in 1986, or if you've seen the mini series - that's from HBO in 2019 - then the idea might be a little worrying. I think computer-controlled nuclear power stations would be a great deal safer. So the smaller risk might be one worth taking. But the main problem here - it would take years and years and years to build them.

Geothermal energy: only for places like Iceland?

What if, instead, we looked beneath our feet to the very core of our planet for answers?

In countries like Iceland, the energy demand is high. Iceland is a cold country. It's in the name! But there is a lot of what we call 'geothermal activity', meaning literally 'heat from the earth'. We've seen on the news recently the lava flow erupting in roads and villages in Iceland. That's frightening and not good for the people who live there, but it shows just how much geothermal energy there is in Iceland.

Historically, Icelanders used the earth's heat not only to wash in, but to bake bread, known as 'hot spring bread', or 'hverabrauth'. 'Hverabrauth'. My goodness, a bit of Icelandic pronunciation, eh? Sorry about that if that's your language. But the point is that from the 1930s, Iceland moved towards being entirely powered by geothermal energy. No fossil fuel usage at all.

Check out - we’ve got lots more!

Just pausing a moment there. If you like this podcast, check out our website at We have language courses. We have hundreds of podcasts. And we even have a free course on 'how best to learn English'. If you only know the podcast from Adept English, then you're missing out. So visit our website, to discover more. Back to our topic.

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Can drilling deep into the Earth solve our energy crisis?

But what if you don't live in a country where there's a lot of geothermal activity? Is this not an option?

Well, scientists have long thought about what might be possible if you could drill down into the hot part of the earth. If only you could drill down far enough. ‘To drill’, D-R-I-L-L, means 'to make a hole mechanically'. If you were putting shelves up in your house, you would probably drill holes in your wall. And if you could drill down into the earth to where it's hot, this might well be a source of energy we could use. MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have been exploring these options and coming up with possible future solutions. There is MIT and also a spin-off company called Quaise. That's, again, Q-U-A-I-S-E, if you want to look them up.

They may be starting to solve the problems here. They're coming up with possible solutions. So drilling down into the earth sounds good, but in practice it's really difficult to do. And it gets more difficult when the rock that you're drilling through begins to get hot. There have been previous attempts by the Russians in the 1970s and the Germans in the 1980s and both made progress, but neither succeeded in finding a realistic method that could supply energy on a wide scale. One of the problems has been the metal drill. I still marvel at, say, the construction of the Channel Tunnel between England and France. It goes under the sea between the two countries in the seabed and effectively this was done using an enormous metal drill. I think that's amazing and clearly the technology was there some years ago when this was actually built. But it appears that drilling for miles downwards into hot rock is much more difficult.

Fusion and gyrotrons: sci-fi or future reality?

Technology developments now mean that there are other options besides that problematic metal drill. They can drill down into the earth using energy beams instead. An ‘energy beam'? That's B-E-A-M. Well, we use that word to mean those long pieces of wood which hold up our ceiling or our roof perhaps. But a 'beam' can also mean 'a beam of light'. We would talk about 'sun beams' used especially when you can see stripes of light coming through the clouds. But here we're talking about drilling with an ‘energy beam’. A bit like a laser beam, but apparently laser beams don't work for drilling rock. This is a 'direct energy drilling process' and it uses something a bit closer to a microwave. Now the other problem to overcome here was the amount of energy used to power the beam. But it looks like this is about to be solved by something called 'fusion'. F-U-S-I-O-N. I'm not even going to attempt to explain that here, nor do I particularly understand that myself. But if you want to research that more look online for machines called 'gyrotrons'.That's G-Y-R-O-T-R-O-N.

Is The Sun Throwing A Party In Our Sky?

Is the perfect energy solution just a dream?

So I mentioned Quaise, the tech business that's connected with MIT and which hopes to use the research from MIT and roll this out in reality, put the plan into action. So Quaise plans to use these new technology ideas for deep drilling to generate clean energy on a wide-scale basis. With this method of energy production, it's clean. Nothing is burned, there's no pollution, no dirty air or CO2 generated. Unlike power from the sun or wind, this doesn't depend on the weather. It's always available day and night. And generating energy this way would use less land than solar power or wind power, or wave power for that matter. This means better use of the land. We can continue to conserve nature and we can use the land for food production where it's needed. And this also avoids the risks that come with nuclear energy, like radiation. How brilliant is all that?

Can old power plants get a second life with clean energy?

But one more thing that's coming out of MIT and is part of the Quaise plans that makes it even better, more practical. A final challenge is actually turning that raw energy, that heat into usable electricity. It's this part of the process which has also proved to be a block to progress. Again, it's building the infrastructure that's needed. It would take many, many years and cost a lot of money.

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The brilliant idea from MIT and Quaise? Well, all across the world, there are old power plants. A 'power plant' means a 'factory that is used to generate electricity'. Many of them are coal-powered. So many of them have been closed down, 'mothballed', taken out of action, de-commissioned. But the technology is there inside those power plants to convert large amounts of heat to electricity that we can use. So Quaise say, 'What if we were to drill these holes on the site of those power plants?' They're sitting there doing nothing. And we could use that existing infrastructure, which is already there, which is designed to convert heat into usable electricity. Doing it this way would mean it could happen much more quickly. And it uses what we already have, which is always a good thing to do.

If they can do that, brilliant! It's a new idea, but there's hope it can succeed. This method of generating clean energy, renewable energy could actually work. I've included links in the transcript if you want to know more. You'll find that on our website, of course. I recommend watching the video on the New Atlas website. That's really good if you want a bit more practice after today's podcast.


I hope you get excited by these things as I do. And I count this as one of those 'good news stories', which you say you like. Enough for now.

Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at



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