The Power of Geothermal Energy

The Power of Geothermal Energy
Geothermal energy is heat from the core of the Earth which circulates up near the surface due to tectonic plate shifts. This heat is harnessed and used in two ways, to either provide heat and cooling directly to buildings or can be used to create electricity. The geothermal heat used for heating and cooling purposes comes predominately from low/moderate temperature resources (below 220 degrees Celsius) and can be found on all continents. Heat used for power generation is from the high temperature resources and can be found in volcanic regions and island chains [Geothermal Energy]. The heating/cooling systems are known as geothermal systems.
The geothermal system consists of three components: the geothermal heat pump, a liquid-heat exchange, and the ventilation system inside to deliver the cold or hot air. Throughout the seasons, outdoor temperatures cover a wide range between cold and hot. However, underground the temperature remains rather constant. The geothermal system uses these facts to automatically switch between heating and cooling a house. In the winter, water is pumped through an underground loop and absorbs the heat from the earth. The water is then pumped inside where it is compressed into a hot gas, and is then released into the home. During the summer the system takes the hot air from the home and compresses it into liquid. The water is then pumped outside where the earth absorbs the heat from the water, leaving only cool air inside the house [Water Furnace]. The process is even simpler for power production.

Hot water is brought to the service through wells and then into chambers where pressure is released to create steam. The steam is then sent to a turbine engine which turns a generator. The steam is then condensed back to water and sent back to the reservoir so as to not disrupt the reservoir pressure [Future Energies].

Geothermal energy is not only renewable, but also very clean for the environment (releases no pollutants) and extremely efficient (200% more efficient than oil) [Future Energies]. It is already being recognized worldwide as a useful, reliable, and inexpensive form of energy.

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