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Geothermal

Energy
What is Geothermal Energy?
Humans have been using geothermal
energy for hundreds of years
The Earth gives off a lot of heat!
Generally, 1km down=25C hotter
In some places, the proportion is higher
Geothermal energy utilizes this natural heat
to:
Heat water for use
Make steam to produce energy with


Global Distribution of Geothermal
Energy
At least 50 countries have quantifiable amounts of geothermal energy
Top ten countries with the highest Geothermal Energy Output (in MW),
and the percentage of their total power output it represents:

1. United States- 3,086 (0.3%) 6. New Zealand- 700 (10%)
2. Phillippines- 1,904 (27%) 7. Iceland- 575 (30%)
3. Indonesia- 1,197 (3.7%) 8. Japan- 536 (0.3%)
4. Mexico- 958 (3%) 9. El Salvador- 204 (14%)
5. Italy- 843 (10%) 10. Kenya- 167 (11.2%)
Geothermal Energy is highly
sustainable, if we can utilize it
Geothermal energy is more or less 100%
renewable. Its actually considered an
inexhaustible resource.
Cooled water is cycled back to be
reheated
The earth has an indefinite amount of heat
Geothermal energy is constant and
unaffected by external factors
How Do you make it?
To utilize geothermal energy, you need 3 things:
Heat
Fluid
Permeability
*Note that hydrothermal sources, like hot springs have all of these naturally

How Do you make it?
There are three kinds of Geothermal
Power Plants:
1. Dry Steam
Uses natural Steam directly
2.Binary Steam
Uses hot water (at 360F or greater), and
uses pressure to turn it into steam
3. Flash Steam
Uses hot water to heat a different liquid
Water/water vapor has no direct contact
with the fluid
This is the most common one
The Cost of Geothermal Energy
Plants can produce energy for around 5-8 per
kWh once cost of purchase has been
recovered
However, initial cost is expensive
Construction of plant costs about $2500 per kW
The cost of one well can be anywhere from 1 to
5 million dollars.
Power plants can be only located in rural
areas, and over appropriate sources
Transmission lines are expensive, and inefficient
for transferring the energy

Environmental Impact
Compared to a coal-burning power plant,
geothermal energy has extremely low
emissions.
0 lb/MWh of NO
0-0.35 lb/MWh of SO
2
(formed from released
H
2
S)
0 (lb/MWh) of Particulate Matter
0-88.8 (lb/MWh) of CO
2

*Compared to coal though, we would
reduce about 32,000 tons of NO, 78,000
tons of SO
2
, 17,000 tons of PM, and 16
million tons of CO
2
per year.
Environmental impact (cont)
Noise pollution is not a huge issue by
sound level standards
Water Used: 5 gallons of freshwater
used per megawatt hour
Water Quality: Fluids are recycle and
injected back into reservoirs.
Reduces surface water pollution
There are concerns about mercury,
arsenic, and lithium pollution from the
fluid though


Environmental impact (cont)
Land Damage:
Geothermal plants on avg. use
404m
2
of land per gigawatt hour
compared to coal facilities
3632m
2
per gigawatt houre
Can cause subsidence
Induced Seismicity- can be
combatted by injecting water
into injection wells

Impact on Biodiversity and health?

Geothermal plants are often located in
scenic and remote areas- many of them
protected
With some thought and effort though,
they can be intergrated with minimal
impact
Olkaria power plant in Kenya and Hells
Gate National Park
As a whole, Geothermal energy is a very
clean resource and has little health
impact

Bibliography
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