Geothermal Energy Facts

by Anton Right on May 20, 2012

We have seen in previous articles how Geothermal Energy can be used for the production of electricity and for heating and cooling purposes of buildings. The following is a list of interesting facts about Geothermal Energy.

 

  • Geothermal Energy is also referred to as Geothermal Power.
  • Geothermal Energy is a renewable source of energy because the source of the energy (i.e the heat from earth) is an unlimited source.
  • Geothermal Energy is considered a green energy because it does not pollute the environment. To be honest, when used for commercial generation of electricity, it generates some CO2 emissions at about 3% of the emissions of a fossil fuel plant, but these today are considered insignificant.
  • The word geothermal comes from the Greek word “γη” (geo), which means earth and from the Greek word “θερμός” (thermal), which means hot.
  • Geothermal Energy, for the generation of electricity, can be mainly exploited in areas with high volcano and earthquake activity, near major tectonic plates boundaries. These areas are also known as the “Ring of Fire” region.
  • Geothermal energy, for the generation of electricity, is exploited in more than 20 countries around the world including Iceland, US, China, New Zeland, Italy, France, Philippines  and Mexico.
  • In Iceland, Geothermal Energy is the main source of energy. It accounts for about 30% of the country’s electricity needs. For home heating it is being used in almost 90% of the households.
  • Iceland plans to be fossil fuel free in the near future with most of needs covered from geothermal energy.
  • In US the amount of electricity generated from Geothermal Energy is less than 1%. Most of it (about 80-90%)is produced in the state of California.
  • Geothermal energy is used for thousands of years in the form of hot springs (geothermally heated water from the earth). A hot water spa in China from the 3rd century BC, is the oldest known use of geothermal energy in the world.
  • Geothermal Energy can be used for heating and cooling purposes of buildings almost anywhere in the world. It takes advantage of the constant temperature of the earth.
  • Geothermal Heat Pumps are used to extract the geothermal energy from the earth.
  • The temperature inside the earth increases by 37,5oF (3oC) for every 328 feet (100 meters) we go below ground.
  • Geothermal energy plants are very reliable as they can operate non-stop more than 95% of the year.
  • Geothermal energy plants take considerable less space than corresponding fossil fuel plants.
  • The first geothermal energy plant was built in Larderello, Italy in 1904.
  • It is estimated that in US geothermal energy will cover the 10% of the country’s electricity needs by year 2050.
  • In some very cold parts of the world (like Iceland) where geothermal energy is widely used, geothermal hot water runs under the pavements and roads to prevent the forming of ice.

About the Author

Anton Right is an engineer with keen interest in renewable technologies. For the last 10 years he has been following with excitment the evolution of renewable technologies. His main goal is to promote these technologies and a green way of life to the public. He is an editor in www.renewablegreenenergypower.com in an effort to promote renewables and in www.greenenergysavingtips.com in an effort to promote a green way of living.

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