Geothermal Energy: The Answer to the Energy Problem?
Abstract: The global community is currently searching for new sources of energy that are not detrimental to the environment, that are cost effective, and that will be able to provide for the current and future demand for energy. Geothermal energy is one of the promising alternatives to fossil fuels because it releases no toxic or greenhouse gas emissions, its current cost is decreasing yearly, and it is a continuous source of energy. It is a clean and efficient energy source that has the capabilities to provide for a majority of the power used in the residential, commercial, industrial, and electric power sectors. This paper will examine the current and most efficient methods of mass
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Therefore, because this heat is essentially limitless, geothermal energy is considered a renewable resource. There are three uses of geothermal energy, each requiring a different method of harvesting. The first is direct use, in which people use the heat energy without converting it to electricity. Its applications include food preparation, space heating and cooling as well as in spas and hot pools. The second use is geothermal heat pumps, which are devices that extracts heat from a space and then dissipates it into the Earth or traps and pumps heat energy from the Earth into the space; according to the Environmental Protection Agency, it is one of the most efficient heating-cooling systems available. The third use (which will be the main concentration of this paper) is developing electricity from geothermal sources. The process to do so is simple: a power plant would draw steam from a geothermal reservoir up into and through a steam turbine (generating mechanical energy which is used in a generator to produce electricity), then condense the steam into water and inject it back into the reservoir. This process of recycling the fluid via injection ensures that neither pressure nor temperature is lost by continual extraction of fluid from the reservoir, which could greatly decrease the production of energy from that reservoir and also could render that reservoir useless after a few