Geothermal energy is derived from the earth’s heat. This underground reservoir of steam and hot water is tapped to generate electricity.
Geothermal power stations do not create any pollution and can be used to produce electricity 24 hours a day. Therefore, it is a clean, inexpensive and renewable source of energy. If harnessed efficiently, it leads to no harmful by-products. The power plants are usually small and therefore have less effect on the surroundings. The cost of building a geothermal plant is comparatively lesser than an oil, gas or nuclear plant.
Some of the potential applications of geothermal energy that have not been utilised to the fullest are:
What’s happening in the world? In February last year, Kenya initiated the biggest-ever geothermal power plant, using the large magnitude of heat below the Earth’s surface to power turbines producing 280 megawatts of electricity. Thanks to the new power source, 5,000 more schools will now have power!
Geothermal Energy Information : Geothermal Energy involves using the heat in the water directly
Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), also sometimes called engineered geothermal systems, offer great potential for dramatically expanding the use of geothermal energy.
The EGS concept is to extract heat by creating a subsurface fracture system to which water can be added through injection wells. Creating an enhanced, or engineered, geothermal system requires improving the natural permeability of rock. Rocks are permeable due to minute fractures and pore spaces between mineral grains. Injected water is heated by contact with the rock and returns to the surface through production wells, as in naturally occurring hydrothermal systems. EGS are reservoirs created to improve the economics of resources without adequate water and/or permeability.
Direct use, as the name implies, involves using the heat in the water directly (without a heat pump or power plant) for such things as heating of buildings, industrial processes, greenhouses, aquaculture (fish farming) and resorts. Direct use projects generally use resource temperatures between 38°C (100°F) to 149°C (300°F). Current U.S. installed capacity of direct use systems totals 470 MW or enough to heat 40,000 average-sized houses. Direct, or non-electric, use of geothermal energy refers to the use of the energy for both heatng and cooling applications. Fluids with temperatures of <300°F, adequate for direct use, are available throughout much of the United States. Direct use of geothermal energy in homes and commercial operations is much less expensive than using traditional fuels; savings can be as much as 80%! Furthermore, direct-use applications such as fish farms, greenhouses, microbreweries, fruit and vegetable drying, spas, pulp and paper processing, and lumber drying offer attractve and innovative opportunities for local businesses and entrepreneurs. Benefits.