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Geothermal Energy

While the use of geothermal energy is not new, the current technology is still far from perfect. Despite its low production costs, geothermal power is more efficient than dry steam models. This technology uses highly-pressured reservoirs to generate energy. The water is forced to the surface at a much lower pressure than it would be underground. This causes the water to vaporize and produce steam. In some cases, water that does not get flashed is injected back into the hydrothermal reservoir.

Fastest-growing Energy Sources

The process of geothermal energy is not new. The first humans used it for cooking and heating water. This technology has since been adapted for use in electricity. In the 1960s, binary power plants and Obama stimulus money stimulated a surge in geothermal activity. However, capital dried up and attention turned away from geothermal. Today, there are more than 60 commercial geothermal power plants in the US. It is one of the fastest-growing energy sources.

Power Plants

Some of the first geothermal power plants were built in the United States. They started small, producing 280 kilowatts of electricity. By the year 2000, the first commercial geothermal power plant was constructed in New Zealand. Another geothermal facility, U.S. Geothermal Inc., built a 22-megawatt facility in the town of Vale in eastern Oregon. Paisley in Oregon has a 3.1-megawatt facility that started operating in 2015. Two other commercial geothermal power plants use the hot water from the nearby geothermal power generation operations.

Flash Plants

The most common type of geothermal power is called flash plant. Flash plants need a high temperature and are able to generate electricity from low temperatures, as long as the temperatures are above 200degC. In addition, binary plants require more heat and can operate in a hotter climate, and flash plants need a higher temperature. But if the heat is high enough, these plants can generate electricity at 100degC or higher.

Large-scale Installations

In addition to geothermal power plants, geothermal power can also be produced by large-scale installations. The heat generated by a geothermal power plant drives a turbine, which generates electricity. These power plants, which are commonly known as boilers, can also be used for small-scale purposes. The majority of geothermal power plants are located in the United States. Some countries, such as Kenya and the Philippines, generate up to fifteen percent of their electricity through geothermal sources.

In Summary

Despite the limited application of conventional geothermal power, it has become a viable alternative. The technology for these systems is developing at a rapid pace. It is also available in various types of heat, and different kinds of industries are pursuing it for various purposes. For example, the heat from a geothermal system can be used for fisheries, drying cement, and even hydrogen. It can also be used for manufacturing.

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