The ground beneath our feet contains a considerable level of energy in the form of heat. All of this geothermal energy has the potential to generate geothermal power to provide large amounts of electricity.
We have used geothermal energy in the form of hot springs for centuries, however, the first attempt to generate electricity from this energy source did not occur until the 20th century.
The production of electricity from geothermal energy sources can be a highly powerful and efficient method of usage, yet location is key for an efficient geothermal power station.
There are only a handful of locations across the world which are capable of producing viable and efficient levels of electricity from geothermal energy sources. As a result of this, as of 2007, less than 1% of the worlds electricity supply comes from geothermal sources.
To harness geothermal energy and transform this into electricity, geothermal power stations are used, in a variety of designs.
The three main power plant designs which use geothermal as an energy source are; "dry steam", "flash steam", and "binary-cycle" power stations.
Geothermal Ground Source Heat Pumps
Alternative "geothermal energy systems" are available, yet instead of providing power, they focus on providing heat and warmth. This heat can be used to heat water for your home, or to simply warm your house.
Geothermal energy systems using ground source heat pumps are different to geothermal power systems. The main difference is the ground source heat pumps only penetrate the first few meters of ground.
Water is usually pumped through one end of a lengthy piping system, and by the time it reaches the other end the water is of a significantly higher temperature than it was at the start.
The great advantage to geothermal ground source heat pumps is they can be used in many locations. Even snowy regions such as Norway and Sweden see efficient results when using ground source heat pumps.
A geothermal heat pump can be very efficient in providing your home with a source of low cost hot water. The use of a ground source heat pump with a backup boiler allows your boiler to use less energy to heat the water than it would have previously. This can save you significant amounts of money on energy bills for your home or business.
Here are some disadvantages of using the power of geothermal energy to provide heat for your home or water through the use of a ground source heat pump.
- The initial cost of design and installation can be costly, yet this investment would pay off over future years.
- The area needed to lay the piping system can be quite large, and this may not be suitable for small developments.
These are just some of the disadvantages of using geothermal energy, yet there are many more advantages which greatly outweigh these negatives.
Geothermal System Suppliers
If you are looking for suppliers or installers of geothermal energy systems, then our geothermal suppliers area may be of interest to you, and could help you locate a reputable supplier in your area.
Related Links - External Websites
- Wikipedia - Geothermal Power - A page from Wikipedia full of useful information on a range of topics relating to how we harness and use geothermal energy.
- EERE - Geothermal Power Plants - An interesting look at the different types of geothermal power plants, and the future of geothermal electricity.