Geothermal energy

Disadvantages of geothermal energy

Disadvantages of geothermal energy

Geothermal energy is a type of renewable energy. It is considered renewable energy because it does not consume resources and is practically inexhaustible.

Its principle of operation is based on the use of heat inside the Earth. One of the most used techniques to take advantage of the internal energy of the rocks is to build wells of about 150 meters through which a fluid circulates. The fluid falls with a low temperature, at the bottom through a thermodynamic process it is heated and goes up with the thermal energy acquired to the surface.

It is a new technology and less known than the other sources of renewable energy (solar energy, hydropower or wind energy) or non-renewable energy (fossil fuels or nuclear energy).

The advantages of geothermal energy are numerous, but there are also certain disadvantages that must be considered.

High initial cost

The main disadvantage of geothermal energy is the initial cost to extract it. Precisely by its very nature it is necessary to extract it from the subsoil.

This process implies that the first phases of the project are long and costly economically. The cost of drilling holes in the ground, installing heat exchangers, etc. It is much more expensive than installing a natural gas boiler or installing a solar panel.

To carry out a project for a geothermal energy installation it is necessary to carry out previous studies. These studies require specific machinery and important investments in the initial phase of the project.

Location of the geothermal energy installation

Although the heat inside the Earth's layers is present everywhere, not in all places can be used in the same way. There is no possibility of exploiting this source of energy everywhere.

Depending on the geological characteristics some places are better than others for the construction of geothermal wells. Rocky terrain, for example, is a great disadvantage for the construction of geothermal facilities. On the other hand, land where there are hot springs are much more favorable.

In the case of large cities, the construction of geothermal power plants is more difficult. The main disadvantage, in many cases, is that in the cities the subsoil belongs to the town hall and is occupied by other services such as sewage pipelines gas and electricity, etc.

Only local exploitation. It can not be transported as a primary source of heat, it must be consumed in the same place from which it comes. On the other hand, in geothermal power plants this problem disappears since electricity can be transported.

Environmental disadvantages of geothermal energy

In terms of the environment, geothermal energy can emit toxic emissions. In case of accident or leak, in certain places, you can release hydrogen sulfide that is detected by its smell of rotten eggs, but in large quantities is not perceived and is lethal. In those cases there would also be some risk that toxic substances, such as arsenic, ammonia, etc., will be released and contaminate nearby waters.

One of the main disadvantages of geothermal energy in the field of large geothermal installations is the deterioration of the landscape because to exploit this type of energy it is necessary to drill the earth's surface. This disadvantage of geothermal energy, in the case of single-family houses, the environmental impact is practically imperceptible.

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Last review: January 21, 2019