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GeoThermal Energy

Geothermal energy is a very powerful and efficient way to extract a renewable energy from the earth through natural processes. This can be performed on a small scale to provide heat for a residential unit (a geothermal heat pump), or on a very large scale for energy production through a geothermal power plant. Because the earth has a fairly constant temperature within the upper 10 feet of the Earth's surface (between 50 and 60°F or 10 and 16°C), one can create a water pump system that pushes colder water down into the earth to return warmer in the winter months, or the opposite during the summer months. The use of a heat exchanger will convert the temperature change into the air, similar to a air conditioner or a heater. On a larger scale, the drilling is done much deeper, or over a geothermal field.

The earth itself contains a considerable level of energy stored and dissipated as heat. All of this geothermal energy has the potential to generate geothermal energy to provide large amounts of electricity. Geothermal energy is energy obtained by tapping the heat of the earth itself, usually from kilometers deep into the Earth's crust. It is expensive to build a power station but operating costs are low resulting in low energy costs for suitable sites. Ultimately, this energy derives from heat in the Earth's core.

The production of electricity from geothermal energy sources can be a very powerful and effective use, but the location is a key element for good station geothermal energy. There are only a handful of places around the world who can produce viable and effective levels of electricity from geothermal energy sources. As a result, from 2007, less than 1% of world electricity supply comes from geothermal sources.

Three types of plants are used to produce energy geothermal energy: dry steam, flash, and binary. Steam plant dry steam to take fractures in the ground and use it to directly drive a turbine which turns a generator. Flash plants take hot water, usually at temperatures above 200 ° C on the ground and allows it to boil as it rises to the surface and then separates the vapor steam / water separators and then runs the steam through a turbine. In binary plants, hot water circulates through heat exchangers, boiling organic liquid that turns the turbine. The vapor condensed and geothermal remains fluid from the three types of plants are injected into the hot rock to collect more heat.

Geothermal energy from the bottom of the Earth is closer to the surface in some areas than others. When the underground steam or hot water can be harnessed and put to the surface May be used to generate electricity. These sources of geothermal energy exist in certain geologically unstable parts of the world such as Chile, Iceland, New Zealand, USA, the Philippines and Italy. The two most important areas for the United States are in the Yellowstone basin and northern California. Iceland has produced 170 MW of geothermal power and heated 86% of all homes during the years 2000 through geothermal energy.

There is also the potential to generate geothermal hot dry rocks. Holes at least 3 km deep are drilled into the ground. Some of these holes pump water into the ground, while other holes pump hot water. The heat resource consists of underground hot radiogenic granite rocks, which heat when there is enough sediment between the rock and land surface.

To exploit geothermal energy and transform it into electricity, geothermal stations are used in a variety of models. The three main models that use geothermal power as an energy source are "dry steam, flash steam", and "binary-cycle power plants. Alternative "Geothermal energy systems are available, but instead of giving power, they focus on the provision of heat and heat. The heat can be used to heat water in your home, or simply for your warm house.

Geothermal systems using geothermal energy pumps are in different geothermal systems. The main difference is the ground source heat pumps penetrate only the first few meters of soil. Water is normally pumped through one end of a long piping system, and by the time it reaches the other end of the water temperature significantly higher than it was at the beginning. The great advantage of geothermal heat pumps is that they can be used in many places. Even snowy regions such as Norway and Sweden see the results by using efficient pumps. A geothermal heat pump can be very effective in providing your home with a low cost of hot water. The use of a ground source heat pump with a backup of your boiler furnace can use less energy to heat water than it has previously. This can save you large sums of money on energy bills for your home or business.

Advantages to Geothermal Energy:
  • No pollution is created, and no fuel is needed to power the station (energy to run pumps in residential household systems can be captured by the energy it creates), it is truly a renewable clean energy.
  • Land costs tend to be very inexpensive since most of the plant/systems are underground. Only the exchangers need to be above ground.
  • Geothermal energy production is one of the most efficient power sources, for every unit of energy put into the system, 3-4 units is returned.
  • Geothermal plants work continuously, regardless of weather conditions, day and night.
  • Geothermal energy production is very scaleable. Ranging from single dwelling residential heat exchangers, to small power plants for small villages, to large power plants for entire cities.

Disadvantages to Geothermal Energy:
  • Geothermal fluid is very corrosive and has a lower temperature than steam from boilers limiting efficiency for electrical generation.
  • Large dense rocks and unknown substrates below the location can hamper drilling.
  • Environmental concerns such as land stability and with trace pollution concerns from s specific type of production called Enhanced Geothermal Systems where water is injected into hot rock. (Large power plant size operations)
  • Potential for a reduction in output in specific locations when depleted. An example of this would be similar to a geyser loosing energy over several decades.(Large power plant size operations)
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