As soon as you consider the numerous sources of renewable energy that could help reduce the world’s reliance on fossil fuels, much consideration should be given to geothermal energy. Geothermal is an entirely clean form of energy that does not pose the same health risks associated with the gathering, use, and burning of fossil fuels. Also, geothermal is an inexpensive and sustainable option, and should therefore be given great consideration as a viable alternative energy source.
In simple terms, geothermal energy is the heat energy given off by the earth. The Earth’s core contains numerous layers of magma that persistently produces heat. This internal heat is produced by the decay of radioactive substances like uranium. Over 50 000 times more energy can be found in a mere 33,000 foot radius of the earth’s surface, than contained by all the planet’s oil and natural gas resources.
At present, the most frequently used technique of harvesting geothermal energy is by tapping into geothermal springs. Within these geothermal springs, cool water trickles into the ground, only to be superheated by means of convection and rise to the surface as steam. The resulting steam is then collected and employed to power electricity generators. Lots of power plants are trying to drill deeper into the earth in order to capture geothermal steam more effectively and in larger quantities.
Numerous geothermal reservoirs have been found across the planet, each with the potential to produce as much energy as 1000 conventional power plants, with no pollution involved. At present, much research is taking place to find the most effective and safest way to tap into this endless energy source. The biggest obstacle with geothermal energy use is the accumulation of silica inside geothermal wells. Since scientists recently found ways to control this detrimental problem, there is ample hope that this form of energy will finally receive the attention it deserves.
With a method to control silica accumulation comes the prospect that energy committees will invest more money and research into geothermal energy. This should inevitably provide an inexpensive and clean energy source. Presently, more than 60 million individuals worldwide get their electricity from geothermal power plants. Enthusiasts of the geothermal industry hope to see this number rise significantly in the coming years, as the harvesting process becomes more efficient.
To come to the point, tapping into our planet to harvest geothermal energy is by far the most sustainable method of obtaining green energy. The earth’s mantle is an endless supply of energy, with no risk of depletion or harmful emissions. Considerable research should be done on geothermal energy to find the best possible method of bringing this remarkable technology to the greatest number of people. This would create energy independence and eliminate the world’s need for fossil fuels.
Muun-unit is a hippie, eco-warrior, and nature-loving kind of guy – who enjoys travelling the world and cooking gourmet dishes. He is passionate about everything “green” or eco-friendly, and believes that everyone should do their part in conserving our beautiful environment. Muun-unit wrote this article for a petroleum conference group that discusses alternative energy sources. Photo via ThinkGeoEnergy