Geothermal energy – A renewable energy source of future

Energy is the energy stored in the form of heat beneath the surface of the
solid earth which is clearly visible in the form of volcanoes, not springs and
geysers. Geothermal resources are simply exploitable concentrations of the
Earth’s natural heat (thermal energy). The Earth is a bountiful source of
thermal energy, continuously producing heat at depth, primary by the decay of
uranium, thorium and potassium-that occur in small amounts in all rocks. This
heat then rises to and through the Earth’s surface, where it escapes into the
atmosphere. As per one estimates, the amount of heat that flows annually from
the Earth into the atmosphere is enormous – more than that needed to power all
nations of the world, if it could be fully harnessed.

It is
available all over the world as depicted in the below image, the major portion
of geothermal energy is located in Europe. Sometimes this geothermal heat comes
near the surface of Earth in the form of magma. We can use this heat to warm
our houses and make electricity. People have used the geothermal energy for
heating and bathing for thousands of years. It is observed that the most active
geothermal energies are usually found where earthquakes and volcanoes are
concentrated. As per one estimate, the temperature increases with increasing
depth in the earth’s crust at a typical rate of 20 K/km.

There are
various types of geothermal resources available beneath the Earth surface mainly;
Hydrothermal (hot water or steam in confined aquifers), Geopressurized (hot,
high pressure brines with dissolved methane), Hot dry rock and Magma.
power plants use the steam generated from the geothermal wells to make
electricity. The geothermal energy is Renewable in nature due to various
reasons like; the hot water we use will be replaced by rain. The heat inside
the earth will always be there. More heat is mage every day in the Earth’s
core. Hence, we won’t run out of geothermal energy in future. Also, this energy
is clean in nature as no fuel is burned, so there is no air pollution in the
atmosphere. The steam is turned into water and put back into the earth. The geothermal
energy is comparatively cheaper than coal power plants as no fuel is required,
perhaps one major cost of drilling the wells to extract the heat source from
the earth.

geothermal resources are not spread uniformly, heat pumps can be used nearly
anywhere. This answers the question that using a heat pump (which uses solar
energy) as they can be used in places where no geothermal energy is available! It
makes way for the alternate renewable source in remote locations in the world.

geothermal energy has a long history, it was used for bathing in Paleolithic
times and ancient Romans used it as a central heating system for bathing and
heating homes and floors. Also, America’s first district heating system was put
into place in 1892. The first experiment was done to produce geo-thermal power in
Italy in 1904 by Prince Ginori Conti.
natural replenishment of heat from earth processes and modern reservoir
management techniques enable the sustainable use of geothermal energy as a
low-emission, renewable resource. Also, most hardware used to extract
geothermal energy is underground which uses minimum use of surface. The
geothermal technologies are environmentally advantages because there is no
combustion process emitting carbon dioxide, with the only direct emissions
coming from the underground fluids in the reservoir. Technical advancements can
reduce the cost of producing geothermal energy and lead to higher energy
recovery, longer field and plant lifetimes, and better reliability. The
research and development (R&D) in exploration is required for hidden
geothermal systems and for Engineered (or Enhanced) Geothermal Systems (EGS).


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