Can Geothermal Energy Be Used Everywhere?
Geothermal energy is another renewable form that can be your next step towards an environment-friendly lifestyle. All forms of renewable energy works on a few principles this includes the source, method to harness, conversion, storage, and locality.
Geothermal is originated from the heat deposited and is derived from the 1800 miles below the Earth’s crust.
Geothermal energy can be used near any thermal reservoir in the world. The low-temperature pockets with geothermal energy are found on the subsurface of the Earth. Geothermal heat can be retained some meters below the ground.
Before we discuss if it can be used everywhere, let’s discuss what geothermal energy is.
What is Geothermal Energy?
Geothermal energy is derived from the Earth or subsurface of the Earth. This is a form of thermal energy that originates from the high temperature and pressure in the Earth’s interior.
Thermal lake at The Wai-o-tapu, Rotorua, New Zealand
Can Geothermal Energy be used everywhere?
Geothermal power has been stored underground from the very beginning. It has the characteristic of making 100% clean electricity available to everyone.
Although geothermal power is reliable and predictable, the geothermal power plant can not be built anywhere.
They are location-dependent, need a high initial value to invest for power plants, and might lead to surface instability which can further cause earthquakes.
However, small land footprinting, infrastructure longevity, and effective positive implications are substantial benefits.
Geothermal power plants need reservoirs with temperatures above 100°C to increase their working efficiency.
The reservoirs are found in specific locations. This is why California is the place for most of the geothermal power plants in the U.S.
Storage in large power plants is easily accessible, and transmission efficiency depends on community-based projects. However, construction costs and earthquakes count as big challenges associated with Geothermal energy.
Contribution of Government in Geothermal Power-plant
It requires several years inside the Earth to decay of naturally radioactive isotopes, minerals, and other elements and generate this energy.
To fund and research, the government granted a fund with the latest tech updates and innovative approaches, which reduced the cost of production for geothermal energy and expanded options to harness this renewable energy.
The U.S. Department of Energy is actively participating in programs associated with the future of geothermal energy.
Geothermal energy is one of the most promising renewable energy resources with proven reliability, absolutely safe, and clean.
To use geothermal energy everywhere, we need to make sure energy storage and transmission cost affordable. Still, efficiency can be a huge factor in such cases.
Where Can We Find Geothermal Energy?
Geothermal energy can be observed at hot springs used for bathing and sometimes cooking. However, the term geothermal power has been used when we are talking about the generation of electricity from geothermal sources.
To your wonder, our Earth has enough geothermal resources to supply human needs. According to the facts and reports, only a small part of geothermal land is profitably used.
Geysers at Bolivia
Geothermal energy originates from heat stored in the Earth. You must be familiar with hot water springs but do you know they are usually situated close to areas where volcanic activity rises close to the surface of Earth. These places are close to tectonic plate boundaries with high temperatures.
Geothermal heating can be used directly with proper harnessing types of equipment or application.
When we talk about renewable energy, we always put solar energy on our preference list. If it was a part of play, solar energy would play the role of protagonist.
The answer is simple; it is easy to use, conversion of energy is not complex, trustworthy, add benefits and balance to an individual’s life, or maybe it is the perfect option to go ‘green’ and retain our aim of green living. Just like that, geothermal power plays the role of a crucial element in the journey of green living.
Current Developments of Geothermal Power
Geothermal power is the electricity produced by geothermal heating or energy. Many countries are working to generate a significant portion of electricity from geothermal power. As per the updated list by Geothermal Energy Association, 26 countries use geothermally generated electricity.
According to reports of 2019, approximately 23.86% or 3.6% G.W. of geothermal power capacity is installed in the United States. With advanced technologies making their way to market, geothermal power will be able to cover 3-5% of the world’s demand by the next three decades.
You can consider it a sustainable option of living with lesser heat extraction procedures and a better way to capture and store geothermal energy.
Geothermal Power plant in New Zealand
First Use of Geothermal Power
Geothermal energy and its history hold back a journey of 10,000 years. However, the hot springs were used by Greeks, Native Americans, and Romans.
Earlier, the geothermal sites had limited access. Still, several regions made their first difference with installing geothermal power and made it accessible to use for daily life chores like water heating systems, bathing, etc.
- 14th Century, Chaudes France installed the district’s first water heating system.
- The concept of geothermal heat traveled to the United States in 1892, but the proceedings and implementation took place in the 1970s.
- 1930, Reykjavik, Iceland, has the largest geothermal heating system.
- 1958, New Zealand was benefited by Geothermal Power Plant
- 1958-1960, Northern California witnessed significant progress in the Geothermal and Renewable industry.
Uses of Geothermal Energy
As known, all of the Earth’s thermal energy doesn’t get out with eruptions or water, but some of it is collected and remains in the Earth’s layer. With a slow pace, this heat trapped in the small pocket of the interior of the Earth move outwards.
In the U.S., it needs a drill to extract out Geothermal energy, which is expensive than that of Iceland, where people depend on easily accessible underground geothermal water.
Do you know? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved geothermal heating as the most efficient and safe for the planet. Furthermore, among 20 countries utilizing renewable energy today, the USA has become the biggest generator of geothermal energy.
Geothermal energy can be broadly classified into three uses-
Direct Uses of Geothermal Energy
Direct use of geothermal energy has been used since the ancient era. These hot water springs or sources are low in temperature and are used for bathing, cooking, and heating. Also, it is quite an effective health remedy for many as the water in hot springs is mineral-rich.
The hot water springs are attached with pipes and directly provided to multiple buildings. Also, this has been used in the industry for food drying, milk pasteurizing, in the timber industry, etc.
Geothermal power generation is the most common and expected use by any renewable resource. The stored heat in the Earth’s pocket is extracted by building thermal plants which generate electricity by three techniques- dry steam, binary, or flash.
For electricity generation, steam at high temperatures from 300o-700o F is required. According to recent studies, the United States acquired the leading position of geothermal electricity generation.
Geothermal heat pumps function by using the constant temperatures near the surface of the Earth. Geothermal energy is found within 300 meters of the Earth’s sub-surface.
The Geothermal Heating Pump extracts this energy with pump and pipes and transfers heating energy from the ground to buildings during the winter and summer and keeps the home warm and cool, respectively.
Reasons To Choose Geothermal Energy
- The mineral-rich water from hot water springs has multiple uses. Plenty of natural springs are used for bathing, cooking, etc.
- Earth’s continuous radiating power will continue for ‘n’ number of years, which makes geothermal energy a reliable, long-lasting resource to use.
- Geothermal energy exhibits in many forms, and this green source is safe as it does not release any harmful gases.
- It does not require an enormous amount of freshwater.
- Geothermal energy is completely safe for humans and the environment.
- This sustainable source of energy strengthens a country’s progress by its economically potential approach.
Geothermal energy is a reliable renewable resource. The radioactive decay in Earth’s interior readily fills the blocks up to several meters, recharging and creating geothermal sources.
Geothermal energy is indeed a conventional fuel source that expands by its new sources with ongoing research and development. The future of renewable resources stands strong with advanced technology, government, and private awareness programs and an active community that wants to switch to a sustainable lifestyle.
For the future of energy and the environment, it is important to channelize the ideas and approaches together for the community. Although there are plenty of geothermal sources that are still untapped, this energy can meet heating, cooling, and electricity demands for coming generations.