energy geothermal
Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is a relatively new source of renewable energy that is clean and sustainable.  Geothermal energy is the energy that is created within the Earth. The radioactive decay of natural minerals found deep within the Earth’s crust is responsible for a large amount of this energy.

This form of energy has been used by past civilizations.  The Romans used is for space heating people during Palaeolithic times used it for taking hot baths. Today, geothermal energy is used primarily for its ability to generate electricity. Geothermal reservoirs are large man-made heated bodies of water.  These are built, or naturally ocurring, on or near areas of geothermal activity (e.g. on top of underground magma).

Geothermal power plants convert the energy in the heated water into electricity. Besides being harnessed for electrical power, this form of energy can used for heating purposes as well.  The heated water can used directly and without the need for any form or processing or conversion.

Hot springs use this heat and are popular tourist attractions. Geothermal heat pumps are widely used as a form of heating. These pumps use the extreme heat that is found underneath the Earth’s crust and constantly circulate water and other liquids via pipes within the high temperature areas. This allows for constant heating no matter where the pumps are located. Unlike conventional methods of extracting geothermal energy which require the existence of geothermal reservoirs located only in places with flowing magma under the crust, the pipes from a geothermal pump only need to be built deep enough to be heated by the Earth’s thermal energy.

Geothermal energy is a very location-specific source of energy. It can only be truly harnessed around areas with geothermal activity. The dissipation of the heat also causes a major problem in terms of transportation as the water rapidly dissipates the heat energy as it travels.