Geothermal Education

What is geothermal energy?

Geothermal energy is heat from the Earth’s core. It is a clean, renewable resource that provides energy to the U.S. and around the world in a variety of applications and resources. Although areas with telltale signs like hot springs are more obvious and are often the first places geothermal resources are used, the heat of the earth is available everywhere, and we are learning to use it in a broader diversity of circumstances. It is considered to be a renewable resource because the heat emanating from the interior of the Earth is essentially limitless. The heat continuously flowing from the Earth’s interior, which travels primarily by conduction, is estimated to be equivalent to 42 million megawatts (MW) of power, and is expected to remain so for billions of years to come, ensuring an inexhaustible supply of energy.

 

What is the benefit of geothermal energy?

Geothermal BenefitsGeothermal energy is used to heat and cool homes and businesses, heat commercial greenhouses, generate electricity, dehydrate food and to dry fruit and vegetable products.  

 

How is geothermal waste disposed of? 

Unlike forms of non-renewable energy, geothermal produces no waste.  The hot geothermal water is continuously circulated out of the ground, through the use processes, and back into the ground for geothermal reheating. 

 

How is geothermal energy converted to electricity?

Geothermal TurbineHot geothermal water is converted into steam or, in cases of lower temperatures, to convert a secondary fluid into steam.  The steam drives the turbines which generate the electricity.  Some of the generated electricity is used to power the pumps and other equipment used to operate the geothermal plant.  Approximately 80% of the electricity actually reaches the national power grid, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.