Geothermal energy is the use of thermal energy from Earth’s interior. The thermal energy is used for space and home õhk vesi soojuspumbad (air water heat pumps), cooling, and water heating. The two main sources of geothermal energy are hot springs, which are naturally heated water that comes up through ground cracks and can be used for space and home heating, and active volcanoes, which contain a molten core. Geothermal energy has been used for thousands of years in many ways, including providing heat for homes, cooking food, and even powering electric motors.
Geothermal resources are reservoirs of hot water that are found beneath the Earth’s surface at various temperatures and depths. In order to access steam and extremely hot water that can be brought to the surface for use in a variety of applications, including electricity generation, direct use, heating, and cooling, mile-deep or deeper wells can be drilled into underground reservoirs.
The heat generated by the Earth’s internal heat is known as “geothermal.” This heat comes from an area on the earth’s surface called a geothermal reservoir. A geothermal reservoir is filled with rock that contains both heat-producing minerals and fluids (water or gas). When rocks at the bottom of a volcanic crater are heated, they expand and push up against the sides of the crater. This expansion creates fractures that allow the hot gases beneath the surface to rise into these fractures. Eventually, this rising hot gas reaches the surface and makes its way to reservoirs where it can be tapped for energy.
A volcano is any mountain composed mostly of solidified lava flows. Active volcanoes are those that have erupted within the past few thousand years. Some volcanos are extinct, meaning their eruptions stopped before reaching the surface. Most volcanoes are dormant, meaning they’re quiet but still capable of erupting again.
Hot Springs are bodies of water that contain enough heat to make them boil. They may reach temperatures as high as 100°C (212°F) or more. Hot springs usually originate underground, where the temperature is constant and relatively warm. As the groundwater moves upward toward the surface, it encounters increasing amounts of trapped air as it goes, causing a gradual increase in pressure. The resulting pressure can cause the water to form bubbles of steam, which increases the temperature of the water until it boils.
This process causes hot water to emerge from the ground at the same time each day. It then collects in one place over the course of several days or weeks. The water is often found at the base of hot springs and is sometimes referred to as “ground water” because it is not directly connected to the springs.
Geothermal Energy Explained
Geothermal energy is the process of using natural heat sources like hot springs and volcanoes to produce electricity. One source of geothermal energy is hot water, which is produced when ground water is heated to its boiling point. Hot water can be collected and stored in tanks, where it can provide heat for buildings and other facilities. Another source of geothermal energy uses heat from deep wells that penetrate the Earth’s crust and collect thermal energy from the mantle below. These wells can also be used to store heat and power generators.
Another type of geothermal energy system uses a closed loop system. In a closed loop system, a fluid circulates between an input and output tank. The fluid can be water, steam, oil, or some other liquid. Water is most common as a medium for transporting geothermal energy. Heat from a well heats water inside the storage tanks. This hot water is pumped back down the well to keep the loop moving. At the same time the hot water is pumped, cold water enters the top of the loop and circulates around through the loops to cool off. This method works best in hot climates because cooler air can be mixed with the hot water to lower its temperature.
Other Uses of Geothermal Energy
In addition to being used to generate electricity, geothermal energy can be used in many different ways. It can be used to heat homes, cook food, create hot baths, and power cars. In fact, many countries have implemented policies requiring that a certain percentage of their electrical power come from renewable sources.
One example is Iceland. Iceland’s government set a goal of obtaining 20% of its total electricity from renewable resources by 2010, and it achieved that goal in 2003. Since then, Iceland has gone further. In recent years, Iceland has become one of the world leaders in geothermal energy. In 2009, the country installed 5,000 MW of geothermal capacity, making it the largest geothermal installation in the world.
Iceland’s success has led other countries to look closely at using geothermal energy as part of their plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many people believe that if we all work together, we can solve environmental problems like global warming. One way to do this is to find new ways to harness existing renewable energy sources. Geothermal energy is one such renewable resource.
There are a number of places throughout the world where geothermal energy is available. Several countries in Europe rely almost entirely on geothermal energy for electricity generation. Other countries, including Japan and New Zealand, get nearly half of their electricity from geothermal energy. Even Russia has begun to make use of geothermal energy to help meet its own energy needs. But geothermal energy isn’t just useful in developed countries. There are many places in the U.S. where you can see signs of geothermal activity. For instance, near Yellowstone National Park, several areas feature geysers that pump out water heated by magma deep below the earth’s surface.
Even if geothermal energy isn’t already available in your area, there are things you can do to encourage development in your community. You could start a non-profit organization dedicated to helping develop geothermal resources in your neighborhood. Or you could consider becoming a member of a group like the Geothermal Partnership, which promotes clean technology and helps governments promote geothermal energy.