The term ‘geothermal’ may seem a mysterious thing to many people. It is easy enough to break down: ‘geo’ means the Earth and ‘thermal’ means heat. The rest is like 1 + 1 = 2. We’ll get done to the detailed answers and the ins and outs throughout the rest of this page. But let’s briefly talk about the general topic at hand.
So what’s the deal with alternative energy? We have a vague idea that these types of enhanced natural resources can save our planet, but we also have heard that alternative energy may have some disadvantages that may not be as talked about as they should be. The fact is alternative energy encompasses a myriad of sub-topics that include wind, water, biofuel, nuclear, and solar energy.
This page on benefits-of-recycling.com offers some interesting facts on geothermal energy – where it comes from and its capabilities. The answers are finally at hand.
What is Geothermal Energy / The Basics
Geothermal energy or the energy from the heat, generated by the Earth, has been known to humans for centuries. Ancient Romans used this source of energy to heat their houses, as well as their well-known roman bathes.
However, later with the discovery of relatively come-at-able fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, people forgot about the enormous energy potential, hidden deep under the Earth surface.
Nowadays, geothermal energy is reintroduced into humans’ life mainly as the alternative and “green” source of energy.
What is Geothermal Energy and Where Does it Come From?
The word “geothermal” originates from two Greek words: “geo”, which means “Earth”, and “therme”, denoting “heat”. In simple words, geothermal energy in form of hot water or steam comes from deep beneath the Earth surface. The point is that the Earth core has an extremely high temperature; it is even hotter than the sun’s surface.
The core is surrounded with magma layer, which is, in fact, melted rocks. The temperature of magma decreases as it approaches the outer layer of Earth, but it is still very, very hot. The outer layer of Earth is called crust, and it works like a shell to hold all that burning hot magma inside.
However, the crust is not integral, it consists of several pieces called plates. It is between plates, where magma can break through the crust onto the Earth’s surface, forming volcanoes. The latter are, perhaps, the most vivid evidences of that huge energy, which is constantly generated at the center of our planet.
What is Geothermal Energy and How do People Use It?
In order to use geothermal energy, people drill special wells to reach the so-called geothermal reservoirs, which are like huge underground pools with very hot or even boiling water. The deeper a well is – the higher is water or steam temperature in it. Then this hot water or steam is pumped up at the surface to be used for multiple purposes as the energy source.
Nowadays, geothermal energy is used either for direct heating of buildings or for generating electricity. For example, about 95% of buildings in Reykjavik, Iceland are heated with hot water from geothermal springs. The USA generates more electricity using geothermal water and steam than any other country in the world.
Of course, its share of 0.5% in the total electricity production is still diminutive, but this method of electricity production has very good prospects in view of its efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and safety for the environment.
What is Geothermal Energy / The Benefits
The use of geothermal energy as the alternative source of energy is actively discussed these days. It is a very “green” way to receive energy, because when the Earth temperature is used to heat houses or generate electricity, no harmful chemicals or greenhouse gases are produced. Geothermal energy is very clean; it does not cause air, water, or soil pollution.
Another benefit of geothermal energy is that it represents a renewable source of energy. The hot water or steam is returned back into the Earth after being used. So, it could be a virtually endless cycle not subjected to exhausting.
The only “fly” in this pot of honey is currently a very high cost of geothermal exploration and building of the energy generating plants. However, many governments today support the development of innovative technologies to populate the use of geothermal energy. So, this alternative source is likely to become a serious competitor to conventional fossil fuels in the nearest future.
What is Geothermal Energy / Sources
For more information on the alternative energy follow these links: