By: Louis Atuncar
Geothermal energy is thermal energy
generated and stored in the Earth.
Thermal energy is the energy that
determines the temperature of matter.
Earth's geothermal energy originates
from the original formation of the planet
(20%) and from radioactive decay of
The geothermal gradient, which is the
difference in temperature between the
core of the planet and its surface, drives a
continuous conduction of thermal energy
in the form of heat from the core to the
surface. The adjective geothermal
originates from the Greek roots ge-
meaning earth, and thermos, meaning
The Green Home Builders is a community
working together to make everyone use
The Earth is not Solid
The Earth is made in layers in It is then that the energy is
which geothermal energy is pushed to the surface where it is
produced in the core. released
The first step in the organic The energy is spread throughout
creation of geothermal energy is the atmosphere and is caught by
that the core gets boiled until it man for our uses
releases a huge amount of
energy, known as geothermal This energy is renewable
energy because it is organic, meaning
coming from the earth
Geothermal energy is generated
by heat stored beneath the
The Earth is Not Solid
Geothermal power plants It is amazing how it uses
don’t burn fuel to produce 97% of rainfall as one of its
electricity, they just use the many power supplies
energy’s fuel cells to
Geothermal energy supplies
Geothermal energy is eco- less than 10% of the word’s
friendly because it is energy supplies
Geothermal energy is
It only release 1% of Carbon- sustainable because water
dioxide into the can be re-injected into the
atmosphere earths surface
Where is geothermal
Geothermal energy naturally Most geothermal reservoirs are
occurs in large areas of found near plate boundaries,
hydrothermal resources as the especially in the Pacific Plate-
form of volcanoes, geysers, or Boundary
When magma makes contact to
These areas are also referred to the surface, it heats the ground-
as geothermal reservoirs water trapped on fractures and
faults making hydrothermal
It can also be found resources which leads to the
underground which is one of the creation of geothermal
main reasons why mining started reservoirs
in North America
The U.S has a massive supply of
Geothermal Energy is found in geothermal reservoirs which has
locations with high been producing energy since
Where is Geothermal
We use geothermal
Geothermal energy has three main
uses: Heating; Electricity
generating; and geothermal heat
Geothermal energy exploit uses
three basic types of geothermal
power plants: Dry steam, Flash
steam and Binary power plant.
Geothermal energy is widely used
in California with more than 30
geothermal power plants that are
producing more than 90 % of the
geothermal electricity in the USA.
Geothermal energy widely
exploited in Iceland, New Zealand,
Japan, Italy, Philippines and in USA
mostly in California and Nevada.
Geothermal energy is widely used in Geothermal energy can be easily
California with more than 30
geothermal power plants that are found and exploited along the
producing more than 90 % of the "Ring of Fire" region.
geothermal electricity in the USA.
Geothermal energy is extremely
Geothermal energy's amount of
electricity is less than 1 percent of efficient (almost 100 %) energy
total electricity produced in the USA. source where only real source of
losing energy is from turbine
Geothermal energy is giving 18 % of friction.
Iceland's total electricity.
Geothermal energy could produce 10 Geothermal energy has only one
percent of US electricity by the year real problem and that is lack easily
2050. accessible sites.
Geothermal energy could supply US
with more than 30,000 MW of power A Geothermal advantage is also the fact
by 2025. that geothermal power plants run
continuously day and night with an
uptime typically exceeding 95%.
Geothermal energy is a form of renewable energy derived About 2850 megawatts of geothermal generation
from heat deep in the earth's crust. capacity is available from power plants in the
western United States. Geothermal energy
generates about 2% of the electricity in Utah, 6% of
Geothermal Energy has been around for as long as the Earth the electricity in California and almost 10% of the
has existed. "Geo" means earth, and "thermal" means heat. So, electricity in northern Nevada.
geothermal means earth-heat.
Today, geothermal energy is utilized in three
Geothermal power is generated in, Costa Rica, Russia, the technology categories:
Philippines, Indonesia, the People's Republic of China and
Japan. over 20 countries around the world including Iceland, Heating and cooling buildings via geothermal
heat pumps that utilize shallow sources
the United States, Italy, France, Lithuania, New Zealand,
Mexico, Nicaragua Heating structures with direct-use applications
Generating electricity through indirect use.
The entire world resource base of geothermal energy has
been calculated in government surveys to be larger than the The most active geothermal resources are usually
resource bases of coal, oil, gas and uranium combined. found along major plate boundaries where
earthquakes and volcanoes are concentrated. Most
Iceland is situated in an area with a high concentration of of the geothermal activity in the world occurs in an
volcanoes, making it an ideal location for generating area called the Ring of Fire. This area rims the
geothermal energy. Over 26% of Iceland's electrical energy is Pacific Ocean.
generated from geothermal sources. In addition, geothermal
heating is used to heat 87% of homes in Iceland. Icelanders plan
to be 100% non-fossil fuel in the near future. A common way in which geothermal energy is
obtained is through tapping into hydrothermal
sites, also called geothermal springs. These sites
are geologically active places where water seeps
into the Earth's crust and is heated by the Earth's
interior, rising to the surface as steam.
Usage UNITED STATES OF
Uses 8,724 watts every Has a supply of geothermal
month. energy in the western part
of the country
Uses the cleanest energy
Has power plants set up
Has the largest supply of mainly in the west
Geothermal Energy in the
world Geothermal Energy is
created generally in plate-
Has geothermal energy boundaries, so the nearest
power plants all over the plate-boundary is in the
country western part of the U.S.A
China 19.5% United States 12.6% Iceland 12.5% Turkey
9.8% New Zealand 4.4% Georgia 3.9% Russia 3.8% Japan
3.6% France 3% Sweden 2.6% Mexico 2.4% Italy 2.3%
Romania 1.8% Hungary 1.8% India 1.6% Switzerland 1.5%
Serbia and Montenegro 1.5% Slovakia 1.3% Israel 1.1%
The International Geothermal Association (IGA), founded in
1988, is a scientific, educational and cultural organization
established to operate worldwide. It has more than 5,200
members in over 65 countries.
The IGA is a non-political, non-profit, non-governmental
organization. The objectives of the IGA are to encourage
research, the development and utilization of geothermal
resources worldwide through the publication of scientific
and technical information among the geothermal
specialists, the business community, governmental
representatives, UN organizations, civil society and the
The IGA headquarters is located in Bochum, Germany at the
International Geothermal Centre of the Bochum University
of Applied Sciences.
IGA is a founding partner of the International Renewable
Energy Alliance (REN Alliance). The REN Alliance is a close
partnership of five globally operating renewable energy
associations with the aim of promoting renewable energy
sources worldwide. The work includes political dialogue
and advisory on potentials and scenarios for renewable,
sustainability assessments, carbon funds, policies and other
The other REN Alliance partners are the International
Hydropower Association (IHA), the International Solar
Energy Society (ISES), the World Bio-energy Association
(WBA) and the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA).
But Chinese company Great Wall Drilling is now making itself
a foreign force in Africa, where a dire need to develop
domestic energy resources means companies from the
Middle Kingdom are moving in steadily.
• Kenya's state-run Geothermal Development Company (GDC)
recently committed $240 million per year to the expansion of
the national geothermal power resource.
• Kenya is reliant on hydropower for most of its electricity,
and droughts consistently threaten that resource and
subsequent power delivery.
• With its landscape cut across by the Great Rift Valley, which
is in the process of splitting two parts of the tectonic African
Plate, Kenya holds a geothermal output potential of 7000
megawatts (7 GW). Currently, only 167 MW of that has been
• By 2030, the Kenyan government has set the goal of bringing
4000 MW of geothermal power online to serve one of
Africa's most promising developing nations.
• Great Wall Drilling is furthering the recent trend of Chinese
companies moving into African resource markets by
launching a massive exploration and production campaign.
Great Wall Drilling has 47 wells in Kenya either planned or
• Those pilot wells will serve to give Kenyan officials in the
capital Nairobi and throughout the country more of an idea
of how to maximize official funds and draw investment from
global geothermal leaders like Ormat Technologies
• Great Wall Drilling will be just one of many international
companies Kenya needs to get 72 wells drilled per year to
reach 4 GW by 2030.
• Stay with Green Chip Stocks to learn more about how the
development of alternative energy resources in developing
countries like Kenya could help them "leapfrog" fossil fuel.
The same has already happened with telecoms, as Kenya
bypassed fixed-line infrastructure for wireless
Geothermal power requires no fuel (except for pumps), and is therefore immune
to fuel cost fluctuations. However, capital costs are significant. Drilling accounts
for over half the costs, and exploration of deep resources entails significant risks.
A typical well doublet (extraction and injection wells) in Nevada can support 4.5
megawatts (MW) and costs about $10 million to drill, with a 20% failure rate.
In total, electrical plant construction and well drilling cost about €2-5 million per
MW of electrical capacity, while the break–even price is 0.04-0.10 € per kW·h.
Enhanced geothermal systems tend to be on the high side of these ranges, with
capital costs above $4 million per MW and break–even above $0.054 per kW·h in
2007. Direct heating applications can use much shallower wells with lower
temperatures, so smaller systems with lower costs and risks are feasible.
Residential geothermal heat pumps with a capacity of 10 kilowatt (kW) are
routinely installed for around $1–3,000 per kilowatt. District heating systems may
benefit from economies of scale if demand is geographically dense, as in cities, but
otherwise piping installation dominates capital costs. The capital cost of one such
district heating system in Bavaria was estimated at somewhat over 1 million € per
MW. Direct systems of any size are much simpler than electric generators and have
lower maintenance costs per kW·h, but they must consume electricity to run
pumps and compressors. Some governments subsidize geothermal projects.
Geothermal power is highly scalable: from a rural village to an entire city.
Chevron Corporation is the world's largest private geothermal electricity
producer. The most developed geothermal field is The Geysers in Northern
Fluids drawn from the deep earth carry a mixture of gases, notably carbon dioxide (CO2),
hydrogen sulfide (H2S), methane (CH4) and ammonia (NH3). These pollutants contribute to
global warming, acid rain, and noxious smells if released. Existing geothermal electric
plants emit an average of 122 kilograms (270 lb) of CO2 per megawatt-hour (MW·h) of
electricity, a small fraction of the emission intensity of conventional fossil fuel plants.
Plants that experience high levels of acids and volatile chemicals are usually equipped
with emission-control systems to reduce the exhaust.
In addition to dissolved gases, hot water from geothermal sources may hold in solution
trace amounts of toxic chemicals such as mercury, arsenic, boron, and antimony. These
chemicals precipitate as the water cools, and can cause environmental damage if released.
The modern practice of injecting cooled geothermal fluids back into the Earth to stimulate
production has the side benefit of reducing this environmental risk.
Direct geothermal heating systems contain pumps and compressors, which may consume
energy from a polluting source. This parasitic load is normally a fraction of the heat
output, so it is always less polluting than electric heating. However, if the electricity is
produced by burning fossil fuels, then the net emissions of geothermal heating may be
comparable to directly burning the fuel for heat. For example, a geothermal heat pump
powered by electricity from a combined cycle natural gas plant would produce about as
much pollution as a natural gas condensing furnace of the same size. Therefore the
environmental value of direct geothermal heating applications is highly dependent on the
emissions intensity of the neighboring electric grid.
Plant construction can adversely affect land stability. Subsidence has occurred in the
Wairakei field in New Zealand and in Staufen in Breisgau, Germany. Enhanced geothermal
systems can trigger earthquakes as part of hydraulic fracturing. The project in Basel,
Switzerland was suspended because more than 10,000 seismic events measuring up to 3.4
on the Richter Scale occurred over the first 6 days of water injection.
Some of the legal issues raised by
geothermal energy resources include
questions of ownership and allocation
of the resource, the grant of
exploration permits, exploitation
rights, royalties, and the extent to
which geothermal energy issues have
been recognized in existing planning
and environmental laws. Other
questions concern overlap between
geothermal and mineral or petroleum
tenements. Broader issues concern
the extent to which the legal
framework for encouragement of
renewable energy assists in
encouraging geothermal industry
innovation and development.
Geothermal energy has the potential to play a
significant role in moving the United States (and other
regions of the world) toward a cleaner, more
sustainable energy system. It is one of the few
renewable energy technologies that - like fossil fuels -
can supply continuous, base load power. The costs for
electricity from geothermal facilities are also declining.
Some geothermal facilities have realized at least 50%
reductions in the price of electricity since 1980. New
facilities can produce electricity for between 4.5 and 7.3
cents per kilowatt-hour, making it competitive with new
conventional fossil fuel-fired power plants.
As hot dry rock technologies improve and become
competitive, even more of the largely untapped
geothermal resource could be developed. In addition to
electric power generation, which is focused primarily in
the western United States, there is a bright future for
the direct use of geothermal resources as a heating
source for homes and businesses everywhere.
May 2010: Google invests in a new technology. A novel
drill that is inspired by a jet engine and uses super-
heated water to carve through rock could help make
clean energy from underground rocks more
economically viable, according to its backers at Google.
A report by MIT estimated says that tapping just 2% of
the potential resource from so-called enhanced
geothermal systems between 3km and 10km below the
surface of continental USA could supply more than
2,500 times the country's total annual energy use.