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How Geothermal Energy Works

Environmental concerns are all the rage right now, but that statement is a very, very positive one indeed. Over the course of the last several years, it’s come to the world’s attention that we need to be taking better care of the planet. Modern society is a wonderful thing, but it’s not really a machine that’s built to last if it keeps operating the way that it does. Many have realized that seeking more sustainable ways of doing the things we do each day is a must if we intend to have any kind of clean environment now or in the future. Fortunately, many of the world’s leading corporations and companies have realized this as well, and new technologies are constantly being developed, that we might have a more energy-efficient, sustainable, and clean future.

Maybe you’ve heard of geothermal energy, which is one of the most exciting new developments in clean and sustainable energy that we’ve seen in the last several years. Plenty of us have heard a lot of talk about this supposedly great new solution, but knowledge can be scant on exactly how geothermal energy goes about saving the planet in all the ways it’s purported it will. Sure, it sounds great — but how exactly does it work? We’ll break down the mystery that is geothermal energy, so you can know about one of the more interesting developments in clean energy that we’ve had in quite some time.

If you’ve got any understanding of Greek, you might have some idea that geothermal energy comes from heat that originates underground. Indeed, the world geothermal comes from the Greek geo (“earth”) and therme (“heat”). This name couldn’t be more apt, as geothermal energy uses heat that’s gathered from deep within the earth, via either water or steam. Wells are dug which access hot water or steam that’s deep within the surface of the earth — it’s brought topside via pipes, and is processed into energy using one of three different methods.

Geothermal dry steam is brought to the surface through pipes and pumped directly into the turbines where it generates electricity. This is one of the simplest forms of geothermal energy. Flash steam involves bringing hot water from below the surface and spraying it into tanks, where it’s converted into steam for powering the turbines. The binary-cycle is a bit more complicated and expensive: warm geothermal water is combined with chemicals to create the steam which powers the turbines.

All of this sounds amazing — so why isn’t geothermal energy the norm? Well, for one thing it’s incredible costly. But rest assured — some of the world’s leading scientists and energy companies are working hard on developing solutions that can make geothermal a more readily-available practice for everyone. Hopefully we’ll continue to come up with ways to keep preserving the earth and live our lives in the most sustainable and eco-friendly ways possible. With the capabilities of modern science, there’s no telling what exciting developments lie just around the corner.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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