Sustainable Geothermal Energy
Geothermal Energy is where heat from within the earth is used as an energy source to drive big electric power stations, used for home heating and cooling, and for direct heating purposes. These uses are the most common ones.
Geothermal power station, Tuscany, Italy
Heat from within the earth can be found nearly everywhere in this world. This heat has been there since the formation of the earth and is being replenished from the heat of the sun, from radioactive decay of minerals and from volcanic activity.
At some places near the surface of the earth and in other places much deeper. In volcanic areas, hot springs and geysers (dry steam) is where this energy source comes closer to the surface. The areas around the Pacific Ocean are where most of this phenomenon occurs, the Ring of Fire.
The Ring of Fire is the area along the west-coast of South- and North America circulating around the east-coast of Asia and Australia. In America most reservoirs are found in Hawaii and the western states.
Geothermal energy is cost effective, reliable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly.
The resources for use in electric power plants is dry steam and hot water from drilled wells. Wells are drilled into the ground and pipes are placed into these wells to get the steam or hot water to the surface, from where it re-sides underground.
Using appropriate technologies the steam or hot water resources are used to drive turbines which in turn will drive generators to produce electricity. The condensed water is returned back to the earth through other drain pipe so the cycle is repeated and we have a sustainable energy source.
Home heating with Geothermal Energy
Heat pumps use the earth's constant temperatures to heat and cool buildings. The outer layer of the earth from about 10’ or 3 meters to about 33ft or 10meters holds a constant temperature of about 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, it absorbs the heat of the sun in the summer and release it in the winter.
So in the winter we use this energy to heat the building and cool it in the summer by using heat pumps.
Pipes are buried under the ground and have them re-circulated into the home or building. Antifreeze or water is pumped through those pipes which, in summer, transfer the heat of the building to the ground.
The opposite occur in the winter, the heat of the earth is captured by the antifreeze or air to the building.
Direct use of heat
The heat of hot spring water is directly used for greenhouse heating, for heating fish farms, to de-ice the roads for the heating of pools, bath water, spas.
In the U.S. this hot water is utilized to heat homes and other buildings. Like Virginia, Warm Springs.
In Iceland this is the case with nearly every building.
Reykjavik get its hot tap water as well as its heating water pumped through pipes from 25km distance away.
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