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Geothermal energy

Advantages of Geothermal Energy

Advantages of geothermal energy

Geothermal energy is energy that harnesses the heat inside the Earth. It is a renewable energy based on energy from the Earth's interior and does not require the combustion of any material or fossil fuels, avoiding emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

The use of geothermal energy has the following advantages:

  • It is an inexhaustible source of renewable energy.
  • Better efficiency compared to other renewable sources.
  • Constant and predictable energy resource.
  • Environmentally sustainable.
  • Available in any geographic area.
  • Useful in heating and cooling systems.

Geothermal Energy Is an Inexhaustible Renewable Energy Source

The main advantage of geothermal energy is that it is a renewable energy.

Renewable energy is considered to be energy obtained from virtually inexhaustible natural sources, either because of the immense amount of energy they contain, or because they are capable of regenerating themselves by natural means.

Unlike other non-renewable energies, no fossil fuel or uranium (nuclear energy) is required for its exploitation of geothermal energy.

More Efficient Than Other Renewable Energies

Of all the renewable energies (solar energy, wind energy, hydropower, etc.) geothermal energy is the most efficient renewable energy. The only energy losses are the heat energy that is lost during transport from the Earth's interior to the surface.

Heat Extraction Process

The process of extracting the internal energy from the heat source is carried out using a heat exchanger. The heat energy passes to a fluid that circulates through ducts to raise the heat to the surface. The conduits to carry out this process are very well insulated, so that the amount of energy lost is minimal.

Economic Efficiency

Once the installation is done, maintenance is minimal, therefore, the relationship between the kilowatt obtained by the cost of obtaining it is minimal.

The return on investment time in economic terms is very low. A geothermal energy installation pays for itself over four to six years, which means that, in this time, all the money saved in energy is equal to the price that it has been necessary to install the technology.

Constant Energy Resource

One of the advantages of geothermal energy compared to other renewable energy sources such as solar energy or thermal energy is the ability to maintain constant energy production .

This energy source allows an energy forecast to be made.

In the case of geothermal energy, the source of value is several meters underground . The amount of soil on top of the heat source performs a very powerful insulating function that keeps the temperature stable throughout the different seasons of the year. In other words, the thermal inertia is very high and does not vary at different times of the year. 

This advantage of geothermal energy allows calculations and forecasts of energy needs.

Comparison with Other Renewable Energy Sources

Comparatively, solar energy depends on several factors:

  • the inclination of the Sun
  • daylight hours cause daylight hours that vary throughout the year
  • the meteorological one, since on cloudy days the solar radiation obtained is less.

Wind energy, on the other hand, depends on the intensity of the wind, a factor difficult to predict.

Environmentally Sustainable

Not using fuels helps that the waste it produces is minimal.

For this reason, geothermal energy causes a much lower environmental impact than that caused by the use of fossil energy or nuclear energy. It does not generate greenhouse gases and does not favor global warming or climate change.

The visual impact of a geothermal energy installation is minimal, as it is an installation underground.

Example

A typical single-family home stops emitting two tons of carbon dioxide per year if it uses geothermal energy compared to a home with a natural gas boiler.

In the economic saving aspect, in a house of about 150 to 180 square meters, the economic saving is 70%.

Geographical Availability of Geothermal Energy

Another advantage of geothermal energy is that it can be used in any geographic location .

Although at certain points in geography the temperature of the Earth's interior is higher and, therefore, the yield is even higher; In general, geothermal energy can be used at any point. In volcanic areas, for example, the temperature in the subsoil is likely to be much higher.

It is a renewable energy source that is found anywhere on Earth, unlike other non-renewable energy sources that depend on fossil fuel deposits such as oil, natural gas or coal.

Geographical Dependence of Other Renewable Sources

Traditionally, renewable energies such as solar energy or wind energy have a variable performance throughout the year. Solar energy depends on the received solar radiation, and therefore the situation is important. The energy of the Sun can vary depending on the time band and time.

Wind energy depends on the intensity of the wind, an even more unpredictable factor but also variable depending on its geolocation.

In the case of hydropower, this energy source can only be used in places where a certain accumulation of water is allowed.

Can Be Used for Heating and Cooling

Geothermal energy can be used in a particular way. In a private house with underfloor heating, the heated fluid can be circulated inside the earth to generate heat or even to cool. The average temperature obtained inside the earth is about 15 degrees Celsius, so geothermal energy can be used to cool the environment.

In the case of air conditioning, it is usually done with underfloor heating. No need for fans or interior devices in the rooms or outdoors, just a pump.

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Published: January 22, 2019
Last review: April 14, 2020