In a world where fossil fuels are on the verge of extinction, there arises a need for a new energy source. And instead of looking for another short-term solution in the form of another non-renewable energy source, we should be considering the various renewable sources of energy that are naturally available to us. Geothermal energy is one such source of energy. So, what is geothermal energy?
What Is Geothermal Energy?
The word geothermal comes from Greek words geo and thermos meaning Earth and hot respectively. Therefore, the word geothermal means heat from the Earth. Therefore, geothermal energy is the Earth’s heat energy. Let me explain in a bit more detail.
Although the Earth’s surface is pretty cool in temperature, the layers beneath the Earth’s crust, namely Mantle and Core are extremely hot. The core of the Earth is hotter than the surface of the Sun. The temperature of the core is about 7000oC. The continuous decay of the radioactive material present in the Earth is one of the major causes of this continuous heat generation.
The temperature of the crust is very low as compared to that of the core. Therefore, the heat from the core radiates outwards towards the surface of the Earth making the surface and various water bodies hot at certain places. At various places, this heat from the core turns the underground water into steam and this steam along with hot water leaves the surface of the Earth in the form of hot springs and geysers.
Potential Of Geothermal Energy
Geothermal energy packs immense potential, given we are able to harness that potential. It is more than capable of taking care of all the energy needs of the humans…forever! In fact, the total amount of heat just a few kilometers below the surface of the Earth is around 50,000 times the heat that would ever be produced by all the fossil fuels together. Therefore, there is no doubt about it that this energy source can singlehandedly eradicate the global energy crisis.
Geothermal Energy Uses
Geothermal energy has many use case scenarios. The fact that it is available in the form of both hot water and steam makes it versatile.
Some of the uses of geothermal energy are as follows:
It is used for electricity generation. The steam from the geysers is used to rotate the blades of a turbine thus generating electricity. Sometimes, the steam is used to heat up a water reservoir, which is then used to rotate the blades of a turbine thus generating electricity.
Climate Control In Houses And Buildings
It is also used to maintain ideal temperatures in houses and buildings. In summers, the hot air is injected into the ground where it is naturally cooled. Then, the cool air is pumped into the house. In winters, the cool air is heated up using thermal heating and then pumped into the houses.
It is used by farmers to heat up their greenhouses. This enables them to grow out-of-season crops even in extreme conditions. Some extremely cold nations use this technique to grow crops in extremely cold conditions.
It is used in industries for various processes like drying food, extracting minerals from their ores, etc.
Geothermal energy is a potential-packed source of energy which if utilized efficiently can solve all the energy problems in the world. People are beginning to adopt this form of energy, especially in colder regions. This is a renewable source of energy with way less environmental degradation as compared to fossil fuels.