How Does Geothermal Energy Produce Electricity?

How Does Geothermal Energy Produce Electricity
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You might be curious on how does geothermal energy produces electricity. Well, you have come to the right place. Geothermal energy is a renewable energy source from the Earth’s core.

It can be caused by heat created during the planet’s creation and the radioactive decay of elements. The thermal energy stored in the Earth’s core is in the form of rocks and fluids.

The temperature difference between the Earth’s core and the surface promotes a continuous transmission of thermal energy from the core to the planet’s surface.

High temperatures of more than 4000°C allow some of the rock in the Earth’s core to melt and form hot molten rocks known as magma.

Because the mantle is lighter than the underlying rock, these heats force it to act plastically and sections of it to convect upwards.

The rock and water in the Earth’s crust can reach temperatures of roughly 370°C. People can find thermal energy in rocks and fluids from shallow depths to several miles below the Earth’s surface.

Almost everyone is asked the question of how does geothermal energy produce electricity, and I am sure that’s why you are here.

Meaning of Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is heat produced within the Earth. It is a renewable resource that people may exploit for human use. (Geo means “earth,” and thermal means “heat” in Greek.)

What is its Application?

People have used it for thousands of years in various cultures for cooking and heating systems. Underground geothermal reservoirs of steam and hot water can be of use to generate power as well as for heating and cooling.

A geothermal heat pump built roughly 10 feet underground is one type of heating and cooling. People fill it with either water or antifreeze.

 Water passes through a closed loop of pipes. These ground source heat pump systems aid in the cooling and heating of buildings during the summer. The task is complete by absorbing the Earth’s heat when the water cycles back into the structure.

The geothermal water aids plant growth in greenhouses and for district heating in homes and businesses. It can also be piped beneath streets to melt snow.

How Does Geothermal Energy Produce Electricity

So how does geothermal energy produce electricity? To access geothermal resources, wells up to a mile deep or more are put into subsurface reservoirs. 

These resources came from naturally occurring heat, rock, and water permeability or via improved geothermal systems, which will enhance or develop geothermal resources via a process known as hydraulic stimulation. 

Geothermal resources, whether natural or modified, are power turbines working together with power generators.

The first demonstration of how geothermal energy produces electricity aired in Larderello, Italy, in 1904. Nonetheless, People have used geothermal heat for bathing since the Palaeolithic period. In Japan, monkeys use hot water from hot springs to keep warm during the winter in hilly places.

How Does Geothermal Energy Work?

How does geothermal energy produce electricity? There are three methods of Geothermal Energy power plants based on how geothermal energy produces electricity: dry steam, flash, and binary. Dry steam is the oldest method, drawing steam straight from ground fissures to power a turbine.

Flash plants extract high-pressure hot water from the ground and mix it with cooler, lower-pressure water. This, in turn, generates steam used to power the turbine, thus, demonstrating how geothermal energy produces electricity.

Hot water passes through a secondary fluid with a lower boiling point than water in binary plants. The secondary fluid turns to vapor, which powers a turbine. The majority of future geothermal power facilities are likely to be binary.

The United States is the largest producer in the world. They also have the world’s largest geothermal development, The Geysers, located north of San Francisco, California. There are no geysers, despite the name, and the energy used is entirely steam rather than hot water.

The first power generation well was drilled in 1924, with additional wells drilled in the 1950s and further development beginning in the 1970s.

Other countries, such as Iceland, are in a position to harness geothermal resources, as done since 1907. Recording 25 active volcanoes and 600 hot springs, five geothermal power facilities provide 25% of Iceland’s electricity.

Advantages and Disadvantages of How Geothermal Energy Produce Electricity

Advantages

How does geothermal energy produce electricity that has numerous benefits? It can be produced in two ways: directly or indirectly.

  • Geothermal energy is renewable; it is not a fossil fuel that will run out. The Earth constantly radiates heat from its core and will do so for billions of years.
  • Anywhere on the planet, some form of geothermal energy can be accessible and harvested.
  • How geothermal energy generates electricity is relatively clean. Most systems emit only water vapor, though some emit trace amounts of sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, and particulates.
  • Geothermal power plants have the potential to last for decades, if not centuries. If a reservoir is in good condition, one can balance the amount of extracted energy with the rate at which the rock renews its heat.
  • You might be thinking how does geothermal energy produce electricity? , Unlike other renewable energy sources, geothermal systems are “baseload.” This means they may run in the summer or winter and are not dependent on changeable conditions such as the availability of wind or sun. Geothermal power facilities provide electricity or heat 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • The space it requires to establish a geothermal facility is far more compact than other power facilities. To create a GWh (a gigawatt-hour, or one million kilowatts of electricity for one hour, a tremendous quantity of energy), a geothermal plant takes the equivalent of around 1,046 square kilometers (404 square miles) of land. To create the same GWh, wind energy requires 3,458 square kilometers (1,335 square miles), a solar photovoltaic center requires 8,384 square kilometers (3,237 square miles), and coal plants utilize roughly 9,433 square kilometers (3,642 square miles) (3,642 square miles).
  • How geothermal energy produces electricity can be adaptable to many different conditions.
  • One can use them to heat, chill, or power homes, huge districts, or industrial processes.

Disadvantages

Harvesting geothermal energy still faces various challenges:

  • Minor seismic activity, or small earthquakes, can result from the process of injecting high-pressure streams of water into the Earth.
  • Subsidence, or the gradual ground sinking, works together with geothermal facilities. This is a result of the subsurface fissures collapsing on themselves. This can result in damage to pipelines, streets, buildings, and natural drainage systems.
  • Small amounts of greenhouse gases, such as hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide, can be released by geothermal plants.
  • Water flowing through subsurface reservoirs can pick up Trace levels of harmful metals such as arsenic, mercury, and selenium. These dangerous compounds can escape into water sources if the geothermal system is not well fixed.
  • Although geothermal energy uses nearly no fuel to generate power, the initial cost of implementing geothermal technology is high. Developing countries may lack the technical infrastructure or the start-up expenditures required to invest in a geothermal power plant. In some facilities, for example, in the Philippines, This is possible by funding from American business and government organizations. The factories are now in operation in the Philippines.

People and Geothermal Energy

How does geothermal energy produce electricity that people make use of it around the globe? Geothermal energy exists in various ways throughout the Earth (through steam vents, lava, geysers, or just dry heat), and various methods for harvesting and utilizing this heat.

Natural geysers and steam vents in New Zealand heat swimming pools, homes, greenhouses, and prawn farms. New Zealanders also use dry geothermal heat to dry lumber and feedstock.

Other countries like Iceland have used volcanic activity’s molten rock and magma resources to heat homes and structures. 

In Iceland,  about 90% of the population uses geothermal heating. Natural geysers in Iceland to melt snow, warm fisheries, and heat greenhouses.

The United States produces the most geothermal energy of any country. Every year, the United States generates at least 15 billion kilowatt-hours, which is comparable to burning around 25 million barrels of oil. 

The western United States has seen a concentration of industrial geothermal technologies. Nevada had 59 geothermal projects operating or under construction in 2012, followed by California with 31 projects and Oregon with 16 projects.

Geothermal energy technology has become more affordable in the recent decade, making it more accessible to consumers and businesses.

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