We have the technology to do a lot of things and one of these is to tap the earth’s energy. This is exactly what we do when we decide to use geothermal which happens to be a green energy source.
Geothermal energy is energy obtained by tapping heat from the earth itself. This comes from magma and the radioactive decay of uranium, thorium, and potassium.
The downside to geothermal energy is the fact that it is expensive to build. On the other hand, because the earth’s crust continuously decays replenishing the heat, it is still a renewable source of energy.
There are three types of geothermal plants around. These are namely dry steam, flash, and binary.
Dry steam plants take steam out of fractures in the ground and use it to directly drive a turbine that spins a generator.
Flash plants take on water at temperatures over 200 °C, out of the ground, and allows it to boil as it rises to the surface then separates the steam phase in steam/water separators which runs the steam through a turbine to generate electricity.
Last, you have binary plants. Here, hot water flows through heat exchangers and that boiling organic fluid is what spins the turbine.
Once power is generated, the condensed steam and remaining geothermal fluid from all three types of plants are injected back into the hot rock to pick up more heat.
Geothermal plants are used operational in different parts of the globe. These are usually located in geologically unstable parts of the planet. You can see some in Chile, Iceland, New Zealand, United States, the Philippines and Italy. At home, two most prominent areas for this are in the Yellowstone basin and in northern California.
Aside from digging deep into the earth, there are some who believe we can generate power from hot dry rocks. You have to dig 3 kilometers deep are drilled into the earth first to find these hot underground radiogenic granite rocks. Right now, some Australia companies are exploring this technology.
If you were to compare the amount of energy collected from geothermal to solar, you still get more from the sun. Despite that, people should still use it since solar energy cannot be harnessed when the clouds block the sun’s rays from reaching the solar panels.
Geothermal energy is a green energy source just like wind, hydropower and biofuel because it is a renewable. By maximizing its potential, we don’t have to worry about the price of oil in the world market when it hit more than $110 a barrel and is now under $40 in the world market.
But that is not the only thing we should be concerned about. We should also do our best to protect the environment given that coal fired and nuclear power plants produce harmful gases and radioactive waste that may cause to people and the surrounding areas.
Everyone knows that our planet has changed due to global warming. We learned our lessons from Chernobyl and Three Mile Island but this does not mean it may not happen again.
For us to do our share to protect the environment now and for generations to come, we have to promote alternative energy and geothermal as a green energy source is just one of many that is currently available.