Facts about Geothermal Energy

Geothermal Energy Facts

Posted by Admin / in Science Facts

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Geothermal Energy is becoming more popular.

Geothermal energy uses energy stored underground in the form of heat to provide electricity or heat at the surface.

What does Geothermal mean?

  • The core of the Earth is extremely hot. Heat from the Earth's core is transferred to a zone below the Earth's crust called the mantle. The mantle is where magma is found.

  • Heat is a form of energy.

  • When a volcano erupts, scientists consider this geothermal activity. Heat from the center of the Earth is transferred to the surface.

  • Besides lava, water is another way that heat is transferred from below ground to the Earth's surface. When underground water is near strong areas of geothermal activity, it is heated. Many times it is heated until it becomes hot water vapor. As the water vapor is heated, it expands. When this water vapor reaches the Earth's surface it is known as a geyser.

Geothermal Energy History

There are places throughout the world where people have used geothermal energy for many years. These places are all located near volcanoes, geysers, natural hot springs and faults in tectonic plates.

  • Natural hot springs were used by the Romans, starting nearly 2000 years ago in the town of Bath, England.

  • Historians believe some natural hot springs have been used in Japan for over 3000 years. Hot springs are believed to have some healing potential because of the minerals in the water and soils.

  • In 1904 Prince Piero Ginori Conti used steam from the ground to generate electricity near central Italy.

Types of Geothermal Power Plants

There are several types of ways that scientists have discovered to turn geothermal into electricity.

  • The first way was invented by Prince Piero Ginori Conti, which used steam to turn turbines, generating electricity.

  • Iceland uses the hot geothermal water to directly heat. As a side benefit the pipes to distribute the hot water are below some roads, which help keep the roads warm enough to melt ice and snow in the winter.

  • Over 80 percent of households get heated water from natural hot springs in Iceland.

  • Power companies and governments now drill water lines to find hot water or pump water which is heated underground to generate electricity with turbines or heat exchangers.

  • Heat pumps are used by some home-owners and businesses. A hole must be drilled deep in the ground. Water is then pumped underground which is about 50 degrees, which provides a steady source of energy. A heat pump is then used to extract heat from the ground when the air is colder than 50 degrees F or cool the water when the air is warmer than 50 degrees.

  • geothermal heat pump

    Geothermal heat pumps can be used in houses to reduce the cost of heating and cooling.

Geothermal Energy Facts

  • Most energy produced by power plants is a result of energy from the sun. Solar power is a direct recovery of energy from the sun. Fossil fuels, which are essentially energy from the sun stored in the form of hydrocarbons, are the largest source of energy on Earth. The Earth, however, also has internal heat. Since heat is a form of energy, geothermal energy uses different ways of extracting energy from the earth.

  • More countries are starting to use Geothermal as a source of energy.

  • The countries that produce the most geothermal energy (heat or electricity) are the United States, New Zealand, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines and Indonesia.

  • Geothermal energy is much more dependable than solar or wind energy sources. Wind speed is not consistent. The strength of the sun is also not consistent especially when the sun goes down at night.

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posted by Admin

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