ScienceGeothermal Energy: 5 Unknown Facts

Geothermal Energy: 5 Unknown Facts


Geothermal energy is derived from the inherent heat of the Earth and is a sustainable and renewable energy source. It is a clean energy source with negligible greenhouse gas emissions that could be crucial in supplying our energy demands in the future.

Geothermal Energy. Photo by <a href="">Mark Kuiper</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a>
Photo by Mark Kuiper on Unsplash

Geothermal energy is a nearly endless supply since the heat from the Earth’s core is constantly being replenished by radioactive decay and other geological processes. By boring wells into subsurface hot water and steam reservoirs and using the resulting steam to power energy-generating turbines, this heat is utilized to create electricity.

Compared to other renewable energy sources, geothermal energy provides a number of advantages. Due to the fact that the heat of the Earth is constant and independent of the weather or other external causes, it provides a dependable and predictable source of energy. It also produces energy very effectively, with a high-capacity factor (the percentage of time that a power plant is operating at full capacity).

In addition to being an extremely adaptable energy source, geothermal energy has several uses besides only producing power. In addition to delivering hot water for residences and businesses, it can also be used in industrial activities like food manufacturing.

Despite these benefits, geothermal energy still makes up a small portion of the world’s energy production. This is partially due to the high cost of the equipment needed to harvest geothermal energy as well as the fact that potential geothermal resources are frequently found in inhospitable and distant locations.

Nonetheless, it is likely that we will see more investment in geothermal energy production in the future as the demand for sustainable and clean energy sources increases. Geothermal energy has the potential to play a significant role in the global energy mix with the correct investments and technology breakthroughs.

1. Geothermal Energy has a Number of Benefits, such as:

1.1. Renewable Source of Energy:

Geothermal energy is a renewable source of energy that is continuously replenished by the heat of the Earth. Geothermal energy will be accessible for use as long as the Earth continues to emit heat. As a result, it can be used as a long-term, sustainable source of energy.

1.2. Dependable and Consistent:

Geothermal energy is independent of the weather, unlike other renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Because it is available 365 days a year, the heat from the Earth is a steady and dependable source of energy.

1.3. Low Emissions:

When compared to other fossil fuels, geothermal energy emits very few emissions. It does not release greenhouse gases that cause global warming and climate change, such as carbon dioxide and methane.

1.4. High Energy Efficiency:

Geothermal power plants can convert a large portion of the Earth’s heat into usable energy, with an efficiency of up to 95% or more. As a result, it ranks among the most effective and economical types of renewable energy.

1.5. Low Operating Expenses:

After a geothermal power plant is completed, the operating expenses are comparatively minimal. There is no need to store or transfer the gasoline because it is virtually free. As a result, it provides a long-term source of energy that is affordable.

Geothermal energy has the potential to be used for both heating and cooling purposes in structures. Geothermal heat pumps, which can offer homes and businesses energy-efficient heating and cooling, can help with this.

2. Drawbacks to Geothermal Energy:

Photo by <a href="">Viktor Kiryanov</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a>
Photo by Viktor Kiryanov on Unsplash

While geothermal energy provides many advantages, there are also a number of drawbacks:

2.1. Restricted by Location:

Geothermal energy can only be used in places where there are geothermal reservoirs, which are only found in a few places. Hence, the capacity and efficiency of the geothermal plant may be restricted by its location.

2.2. High Up-Front Costs:

Compared to the cost of creating other renewable energy sources, the cost of drilling deep wells and constructing geothermal power plants is frequently higher. Also, it might be expensive to do the exploration necessary to find viable geothermal sites.

2.3. Environmental Effects:

Although drilling deep wells and injecting fluid into the earth are associated with geothermal energy, which is seen as a clean form of energy, they can have a negative influence on the environment. Land subsidence, water pollution, and the release of greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, Sulphur dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide are all possible outcomes of this.

2.4. Restricted to Certain Applications:

The production of electricity and heating are the two main uses of geothermal energy. Its adaptability in comparison to other energy sources is limited because it is not yet practical for use in transportation or industrial activities.

2.5. Resource Depletion:

Although geothermal energy is a renewable resource, a geothermal reservoir may be exhausted if the rate of extraction outpaces the rate of natural recharge. As a result, energy output may decline, and the plant may eventually be shut down.

Despite the fact that geothermal energy has a number of advantages, it is crucial to understand that this renewable energy source also has a number of drawbacks. To make sure that geothermal energy is used ethically and sustainably in the future, careful consideration of these elements is required.

3. Geothermal Energy Costs

The price of geothermal energy varies depending on a number of variables, such as the project’s size, location, depth of the geothermal reservoir, and technology used.

In general, geothermal energy is seen as a financially viable renewable energy source, especially in regions with significant geothermal potential. The cost of electricity (LCOE) for geothermal power plants, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), ranges from $0.04 to $0.14 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), which is competitive with other renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

Nonetheless, upfront capital expenses, particularly for drilling and exploration, can be considered when establishing geothermal projects. Depending on the depth and location, the cost to drill a geothermal well might range from $2 million to $10 million. Large-scale geothermal projects may be difficult to establish in some places due to the restricted supply of acceptable geothermal resources.

Nevertheless, geothermal energy is a realistic and affordable choice for power generation as well as heating and cooling applications in suitable places, despite the fact that the upfront expenses of establishing geothermal projects can be significant.

4. Geothermal Energy’s Objectives

Photo by Michael Held on Unsplash
Photo by Michael Held on Unsplash

Geothermal energy’s objectives are to: –

  1. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is vital in the fight against climate change since geothermal energy is a clean, renewable energy source that emits few greenhouse gases.

2. Geothermal energy is a dependable and consistent energy source that may deliver a steady supply of electricity, heat, and cooling. It is also an economical energy source. In comparison to other energy sources, it might also be more affordable, especially when there is a significant demand for energy.

3. Geothermal energy is a domestic energy source that lessens dependency on foreign oil and gas, improving energy security.

4. By creating jobs and investing in local communities, the development of geothermal energy can have a positive economic impact.

5. Geothermal energy can increase access to energy in rural and distant places where typical energy sources might not be reliable or available.

In general, geothermal energy aims to support a sustainable energy future that is inexpensive, dependable, clean, and available to everyone.

5. Geothermal Energy System

This energy can be extracted using a variety of geothermal technologies, including:

5.1. Direct Usage  Systems using Geothermal Energy:

In these systems, geothermal water is drawn from a well and utilized directly to heat structures or produce electricity. A heat exchanger then transports the heat from the hot water to a building’s heating system or a power plant’s turbine.

Buildings can be heated and cooled using geothermal heat pumps, which make use of the Earth’s constant temperature. In the ground or submerged in a nearby body of water is a loop of pipes carrying a heat transfer fluid. In the winter, the fluid draws heat from the earth and transports it to the building; in the summer, the process is reversed to cool the structure.

Deep drilling into the Earth’s crust is utilized in enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) to access high temperatures that are subsequently used to produce power. In order to construct a closed loop and generate steam, water is pushed into the well. A turbine is then driven by steam to produce energy.

5.2. Binary Cycle Power Plants:

In this system, a secondary fluid with a lower boiling point is heated using hot water or steam from the geothermal reservoir. The secondary fluid turns into steam, vaporizes, and powers a turbine that produces energy. The process is then repeated when the vapor has been condensed back into a liquid.


When compared to conventional fossil fuel energy sources, geothermal energy is a dependable and sustainable source of energy that can have a large positive impact on the environment. However, geothermal systems can be expensive to install and maintain, and geothermal resources might not be as plentiful in other places.

The move to a more sustainable energy system could benefit significantly from geothermal energy. Geothermal energy is expected to continue to expand in popularity over the coming years, despite the obstacles that still need to be solved. This is because of continuous technological developments and the growing demand for renewable energy sources.

Click here to read more about renewable fuels.

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