How is geothermal energy useful for mankind?
Geothermal energy is the thermal energy in the Earth's crust that results from the planet's creation and radioactive decay of materials in currently unknown but potentially roughly equal proportions. In other words, if you dug a large hole straight down into the Earth, you would notice that the temperature rises as you go deeper. This is due to the fact that the Earth's interior is extremely hot. This heat which is produced is referred to as geothermal energy.
The high temperature and pressure in the Earth's interior causes some rock to melt and solid mantle to behave plastically, resulting in parts of the mantle converting upward because they are lighter than the surrounding rock, and temperatures at the core–mantle boundary can reach over 4000 °C.
CAN GEOTHERMAL ENERGY BE STORED?
People can harness geothermal energy by:
· Geothermal power plants: Geothermal power plants use heat from deep within the Earth to generate steam, which is then used to generate electricity.
· Geothermal heat pumps: Geothermal heat pumps use heat near the Earth's surface to heat water or provide heat to buildings.
GEOTHERMAL POWER PLANTS
Usually, wells are drilled 1 or 2 miles deep into the Earth just to pump steam or hot water to the surface at a geothermal power plant. One of these power plants is most likely to be found in an area with a lot of hot springs, geysers, or volcanic activity, because these are places where the Earth is certainly hot just below the surface.
WORKING OF POWER PLANTS
· Hot water is pumped from deep underground through a well, under high pressure.
· When the water reaches the surface, the pressure drops, causing the water to condense into steam.
· The steam spins a turbine, which is linked to a generator, which generates electricity.
· In a cooling tower, the steam cools and condenses back to water.
· The cooled water is pumped back into the Earth, restarting the process.
GEOTHERMAL HEAT PLANTS FOR HOMES
Not all geothermal energy is generated by power plants. Geothermal heat pumps can do everything from heat and cool homes to warm swimming pools. These systems transfer heat by pumping water or a refrigerant (a type of fluid) through pipes just beneath the Earth's surface, where the temperature remains constant at 50 to 60°F.
During the winter, the water or refrigerant absorbs heat from the Earth and transfers it to the building above via the pump. Some heat pumps can run in reverse to help cool buildings in the summer.
WORKING OF GEOTHERMAL HEAT PUMPS FOR HOMES
· A loop of pipes transports water or a refrigerant.
· When the weather is cold, the water or refrigerant heats up as it travels through the underground portion of the loop.
· When the warmed water or refrigerant returns to the surface, it transfers heat into the building.
· It heats up again to resuming the process only after the heat is transferred, the water or refrigerant cools. It is pumped back underground.
· On a hot day, the system can be turned off. The water cools the building before being pumped to the underground, where it transfers extra heat to the surface around the pipes.
ADVANTAGES OF GEOTHERMAL HEAT PUMPS FOR HOME
· It saves lots of money meansno more expensive (and ever-increasing) monthly utility bills.
· It is an eco-friendly approach for availing the facilities.
· It provides all the comfort, a home need.
· It does not work on manual electric compliances which results, in the event of a power outage, these systems keep everything running.
For more information, consult Netsol Water.