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Geothermal Energy
February, 2004
The Tennessee Energy Education Network compiled this ACCENT unit. ACCENT units are designed to put a great deal of information about this energy topic to your desktop. These ideas and materials are compiled from a variety of sources. This ACCENT unit will be 33 pages when printed.

1. Geothermal Trivia…….Page 3 2. Free Materials to Order…..Page 4 3. Inexpensive Materials to Order…..Page 5 4. Related Web Sites…..Pages 6-8 5. Books About Geothermal Energy…..Page 9 6. Geothermal Organizations…..Page 10-11 7. Advantages and Disadvantages of Geothermal Energy…..Page 12 8. Geothermal Timeline…..Page 13 9. Geothermal Energy in History: Early Days of the Geysers…..Pages 14-15 ACTIVITIES: 10. Geothermal Rock Performance…..Page 16 11. Simple Geothermal Energy…..Page 17 12. Make A Turbine…..Page 17 13. Make a Steam Turbine…..Page 18 14. Do It With Mirrors……Page 19 15. Transferring Heat: Getting the Heat Out!…..Page 20 TRANSPARENCIES: 16. The Earth is Made of Layers…..Page 21 17. Cross Section of the Earth…..Page 22 18. Ring of Fire…..Page 23 19. Geothermal Energy in the US…..Page 24 20. Geothermal Energy: Steam Near the Surface…..Page 25 21. Geothermal Energy: Hot, Dry Rock…..Page 26 22. Cross Section of Geothermal Resources…..Page 27


23. Geothermal Energy Simplified…..Page 28 24. Residential GeoExchange Unit…..Page 29 25. Background Information…..Page 30-32 26. Correlation with the Tennessee State Science Accomplishments…..Page 33 27. Contacting Us…..Page 33


1. The word ―geothermal‖ comes from the Greek words “geo” meaning earth, and “therme” meaning heat. Geothermal energy comes from the heat within the earth. 2. Heat deep within the earth is continuously produced by the slow decay of radioactive particles. 3. Surrounding the earth’s core is the mantle, believed to be part rock and part magma. The outer-most layer of the earth is called the crust. Sometimes, hot magma comes close to the surface where the crust is thin, faulted, or fractured. Water heated by magma close to the surface can be used to heat buildings and generate electricity 4. The most active geothermal resources are usually found where earthquakes and volcanoes are concentrated. 5. Most of the high temperature geothermal energy that can be reached with today’s technology is in an area known as the Ring of Fire. The Ring of Fire rims the Pacific Ocean and is bounded by Japan, the Philippines, the Aleutian Islands, North America, Central America, and South America. 6. Most geothermal resources are in the western half of the U.S. The most active geothermal resources used in the U.S. are in Hawaii and California 7. In Italy, geothermal energy has been used to generate power since 1904. 8. A steam field called the Geysers in northern California now produces electricity equal to 40% of the amount used by San Francisco. 11. Today, geothermal power plants generate about 14 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. That’s the energy equivalent of three nuclear power plants. 12. The Western Deep Levels Gold Mine in Africa is a mile underground. The temperature in the mine is over 100 degrees and the surrounding rock is so hot it can burn skin! 13. In Yellowstone National Park, some of the springs contain water close to the boiling point. 14. In Iceland, many houses are heated by steam produced by volcanic action.

From The Best Present of All, National Wildlife Federation. From Transparent Energy. (National Energy Education Development Project (NEED). Project.) From Lesson Plan 2 at


GEOTHERMAL LESSON PLANS Download FREE Hands-on, Multidisciplinary Educator Lesson Plans, many of which are used in the Alliance to Save Energy Green Schools project, a unique collaborative effort by teachers, administrators, and facilities and maintenance staff which reduces school energy costs at the same time it educates students. Each of these plans can be download as a PDF file and printed out. Alliance to Save Energy

GEOTHERMAL ENERGY “FREE STUFF” PACKET The contents vary depending on your grade level. FREE Stuff includes an assortment of posters, brochures, fact sheets, booklets and more. Can be ordered online. GEOTHERMAL ENERGY SLIDE SHOW The images from the Website can be printed for educational purposes. Geothermal Education Office, 664 Hilary Drive, Tiburon, CA 94920, Contact: Marilyn Nemzer Phone: 1-800-866-4GEO or (415) 43507737 Email: Website:

RENEWABLE ENERGY FACT SHEETS All the fact sheets have recently been updated with the latest information. Many of the fact sheets are also available in Spanish language versions RENEWABLE ENERGY LESSON PLANS This page serves as an index of the renewable energy lesson plans available on this website. Each lesson plan was created by a team of professional educators and renewable energy experts. Lesson plans are grouped into three age levels designed for elementary school (grade 4), middle school (grade 6), and high school (grade 9). All of these lesson plans and fact sheets are available in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. (Can be downloaded at the site. Texas State Energy Conservation Office


EARTH’S ENERGY, Exxon Poster Colorful and whimsical, this poster is ideal for helping students in grades 5-12 learn about Earth's energy. This highly visual, attractively illustrated, and truly informative poster was produced with funding from the Exxon Education Fund to elaborate on the National Science Education Standards that specifically deal with energy. The poster includes several activities appropriate to the energy concept being explored. Item #PS037X10. $9.50 National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) 1840 Wilson Boulevard Arlington VA 22201-3000 USA Phone: 703.243.7100

GEOTHERMAL ENERGY: A RENEWABLE OPTION Video Briefly reviews the history of energy use, energy resources, and current environmental issues and introduces renewable energy sources, emphasizing wind and solar. Teachers using this video are entitled to receive free classroom lesson plans: Specifically written for grades 6 -12 with ideas and materials to enhance the students viewing experience. Order form for lesson plans is packaged with video. 26 min. $20.00 GEOTHERMAL ENERGY: A DOWN TO EARTH ADVENTURE Video. Arthur Mole is the furry and congenial host of this educational video. Mr. Mole takes the viewer on an informative, well-placed, "animated" tour of geothermal resources and developments throughout the world. 16 min $12.00 GEOTHERMAL CURRICULUM Grades 4-8. An in-depth curriculum unit about geothermal energy. 80+ pages Many hands-on activities: discovery learning, demonstrations, lab experiments, individual and group learning, research and civic involvement opportunities. $8.00 GEOTHERMAL ENERGY CURRICULUM GUIDE. This curriculum guide, written for grades 4 to 8, provides lesson plans and student activities about geothermal energy. Sections cover such topics as Earth's natural heat, using Earth's low temperature heat, and generating electricity using high temperature geothermal and other resources. Each section consists of student information pages, student activity pages, and a teacher's section. In a sample activity, students use swirling colored water to investigate how hot flexible mantle rock moves in patterns called convection currents. In another activity, students demonstrate the idea that magnets can produce an electric current by either the rapid spinning of the magnets inside coiled wires or the spinning of coiled wires inside of a magnetic field. The book ends with a geothermal scrapbook section that provides news stories and magazine articles about geothermal resources, and a review of career information in the geothermal industry. ENC#: ENC017306. $8.00 Geothermal Education Office 664 Hilary Drive Email: Phone: (415) 435-4574 Toll free: (800) 866-4436 Fax: (415) 435-7737


US GEOTHERMAL PROJECTS GEOTHERMAL EDUCATION OFFICE Education-related Web site including worldwide geothermal resources map, an energy scrapbook, and classroom materials. You can view a geothermal slide show at this site. VOLCANO WORLD Everything about volcanoes.

GEOTHERMAL ENERGY geo_001407.hcsp Start here for an overview of geothermal energy. Includes economic and environmental benefits, system fundamentals, types of equipment and more.
GEOTHERMAL ENERGY CURRICULUM This curriculum unit describes geothermal energy in the context of the world's energy needs. It addresses renewable and nonrenewable energy sources with an in-depth study of geothermal energy -- its geology, its history and its many uses. Included are integrated activities involving science, as well as math, social studies and language arts. RENEWABLE ENERGY EDUCATION MODULE: GEOTHERMAL For educators and students; includes an "Overview," as well as information on "Theory," "Applications," "Case Studies," "Environment," "Economics," and "History ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES Engage your students in a WebQuest that uses online sources to explore and compare renewable energy sources. GEOTHERMAL ENERGY BACKGROUND INFORMATION Teacher sheet with background information and answers for worksheets linked to this page. WHAT IS ENERGY: GEOTHERMAL Imagine harnessing the energy from the Earth itself to produce electricity or heat your home. Energy Ant explains how we use geothermal energy to do this and more. ENERGY ANT’S ENERGY INFO CARD Compare the energy production and consumption by nation or by type of energy. DOE GEOTHERMAL ENERGY PROGRAM WHAT IS GEOTHERMAL ENERGY? HISTORY OF GEOTHERMAL ENERGY


GEOTHERMAL POWER PLANTS AND ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION Benefits and future of geothermal electricity, and data, photos, and schematics for several types of geothermal power plants. DR. E’s ENERGY LAB Learn about wind, solar, geothermal and alternative fuels at Dr. E's Energy Lab. The site also features general pages on renewable energy and energy efficiency tips. ENERGY INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION KIDS PAGE

PICTURE: Geyser, Yellowstone National Park WEBQUEST ON ENERGY A complete lesson for student inquiry on energy options for generating electricity; assessment along with content is provided for each energy option. LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LAB – GEOLOGY AND GEOCHEMISTRY GROUP Information about geothermal exploration, geological mapping, structural analysis, and geochemical sampling PICTURE: Eruption of Riverside Geyser GEOTHERMAL EDUCATION OFFICE This site provides a worldwide geothermal resources map, an energy scrapbook, and classroom materials that are demonstrated online (full versions can be ordered free of charge). INTRODUCTION TO GEOTHERMAL ENERGY SLIDE SHOW Huge slide show explaining everything you would ever want to know about geothermal energy and its uses. Great illustrations. GEOTHERMAL BIZ.COM Part of the U.S. Department of Energy-led GeoPowering the West (GPW) effort to dramatically increase the use of geothermal energy in the western United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. ADVENTURES OF IGGY COLORING BOOK A coloring book that teaches younger elementary students about the use and benefits of geothermal heat pumps. Print copies can be ordered by calling 1-800-626-GSHP. (Developed by the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association) FANTASTIC JOURNEYS: YELLOWSTONE This interactive site from the National Geographic Society takes kids on an interactive journey through Yellowstone's geothermal wonders. Kids can get a three-dimensional look at the park's most famous geyser, "Old Faithful" .Fueled by the heat from underground volcanoes, Old Faithful erupts about once every 80 minutes, but here you can "Catch a Geyser" with the click of a mouse. By clicking and dragging on the photo, you can also view the geyser from different angles. Another section of the site,


"Plumb the Depths," takes kids beneath the Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in Yellowstone. Animated graphics show how the heat is generated miles below the earth's surface and the impact it has on everything above it."Scout About" is a tour of the various kinds of geothermal phenomena at Yellowstone: geysers, hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles (you'll just have to visit the site to find out what a fumarole is!). The tour includes photographs, brief explanations of how the phenomena are created, and audio recordings from the park. WHITE DOME GEYSER PICTURE PUZZLE Kids can create their own picture of a geyser from the puzzle pieces given. GEOTHERMAL ENERGY PICTURES This Photographic Information Exchange site offers public domain pictures from the U.S. Dept. of Energy. Do a search for ―geothermal‖ to see related pictures. Or you can scroll toward the middle of the page and do a search for ―geothermal‖ in the PIX Subject Terms section. You will see a list of related topics. Some available pictures are: #05903 – low grade natural geothermal hot water. #05424 – Old Faithful Geyser at Yellowstone #07123 – a geothermal well at the Geysers in CA #05923 – Low grade commercial geothermal use in a greenhouse in CO #00062 – Mammoth Pacific Geothermal Power plant in California #00664 – Large steam vent at a volcano in Nicaragua VOLCANOES OF THE DEEP These lesson ideas explore the drama and science of volcanoes and geysers GEOTHERMAL INFORMATION Click on the picture for geothermal and a brief description will appear and then numbered buttons below the description will take you to a web site.

PICTURE: Stokkur Geyser, Iceland HISTORY OF ENERGY This page presents a brief history of energy use from fire to alternative fuels. PICTURE: Geyser cone in Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone PICTURE: Great Fountain Geyser PICTURE: Solar de Uyuni Geyser in Bolivia MAP OF RING OF FIRE PICTURE OF GEOTHERMAL EARTH CROSS-SECTION


Chasing Lava: A Geologist's Adventures at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory by Wendell A. Duffield
A lively account of the three years (1969-1972) spent by geologist Wendell Duffield working at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory at Kilauea, one of the world's more active volcanoes. Abundantly illustrated in black and white and color, with line drawings and maps. Mountain Press Publishing Company; (January 2003) ISBN: 0878424628

Eyewitness: Volcano & Earthquake (Eyewitness Books) by Susanna Van Rose,
Ages 9-12. Here is an exciting and informative guide to the violent eruptions and tremors that shape our planet. Superb color photographs of lava flows and clouds of ash, plus specially built 3-D models, offer a unique "eyewitness" view of volcanoes and earthquakes, from the forces that drive them to the devastation they cause. See streams of red-hot lava, the earliest seismographs, rocks that float in water, the bodies of people killed by the great eruption of Vesuvius, and pools of bubbling mud. Learn how animals can detect earthquakes before people, what causes a fire fountain, how buildings are made to withstand earthquakes, where to hide during an earthquake, and why the earth shakes. Discover how the Mercalli scale works, how new islands are formed, why the sands of Hawaii are black, how volcanoes affect the ozone layer, what makes magma explode, what a pyrolcastic flow is, and much, much more. DK Publishing; 1st edition (July 1, 2000) ISBN: 0789457806

Healing Springs: The Ultimate Guide to Taking the Waters by Nathaniel Altman
Altman's book is an easy-to-read, comprehensive guide to the healing waters of the world. Inner Traditions Intl Ltd; (October 2000) ISBN: 0892818360

Hot Springs and Hot Pools of the Southwest: Jayson Loam's Original Guide by Marjorie Gersh,
Totally revised and updated edition of the definitive hot springs guide to the Southwest, Baja, and Hawaii. Includes written directions, photographs of each place, GPS coordinates, handicap access, clothing requirements, nearby campgrounds and facilities, description of surroundings, pools and tubs for both commercial resorts and natural wilderness springs. Aqua Thermal Access; (January 1, 2001) ISBN: 1890880035

Letting Off Steam: The Story of Geothermal Energy by Linda Jacobs.
Ages 9-12. Examines how geothermal energy, the force underlying hot springs, geysers, and mudpots, is being used as an alternative energy source in various parts of the world. Carol Rhoda Books, 1989. ASIN: 0876143001

Vacation Under The Volcano by Mary Pope Osborne
Ages 4-8. In their first adventure as Master Librarians, Jack and Annie go to Pompeii to bring back an ancient story that is in danger of being lost forever. But before they can find it, the town's volcano erupts in a mighty explosion. Random House Books for Young Readers; (March 24, 1998) ISBN: 0679890505

Volcano!: When a Mountain Explodes by Linda Barr
Capstone Press; (January 2004) ISBN: 073682846X


ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY CLEARINGHOUSE (EREC) P.O. Box 3048 Merrifield, VA 22116 Phone: (800) DOE-EREC (363-3732) Fax: (703) 893-0400 Email: EREC provides free general and technical information to the public on the many topics and technologies pertaining to energy efficiency and renewable energy. GEOTHERMAL EDUCATION OFFICE 664 Hilary Drive Tiburon, CA 94920 Phone 1-800-866-4436 Fax: 415-435-7737 Email: Web: GEOTHERMAL HEAT PUMP CONSORTIUM GHPC works to reduce barriers to geothermal heat pump technology. Web: GEOTHERMAL RESOURCES COUNCIL P.O. Box 1350 2001 Second Street, Suite 5 Davis, CA 95617-1350 Phone: (530) 758-2360 Fax: (530) 758-2839 Web MIDWEST RENEWABLE ENERGY ASSOCIATION 7558 Deer Road Custer, WI 54423 715-592-6595 Fax: 715-592-6596 Email: Web: NATIONAL ALTERNATIVE FUELS HOTLINE (DOE) 9300 Lee Highway Fairfax, VA 22031 Phone: 1-800-423 IDOE Phone: 703-934-3069 Fax: 703-934-3183 Email: Web: RENEW AMERICA 1400 16th Street, NW, Suite 710 Washington, DC 20036 (202) 232-2252 This group offers information on renewable energy and the environment.


RENEWABLE FUELS ASSOCIATION One Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Suite 820 Washington, DC 20001 Phone: 202-289-3835 Fax: 202-289-7519 Email: Web: http://www/ NATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY LABORATORY Education Programs 1617 Cole Boulevard Golden, CO 80401 This program has student and teacher information on renewable energy.


Advantages: 1. Geothermal energy is a renewable resource; that is, we won’t run out of it. 2. Geothermal plants do not burn fuel to make electricity and therefore they produce very little air pollution. 3. Geothermal power plants use scrubbers to clean the air of hydrogen sulfide and other gases. New power plants can even inject these gases back into the geothermal wells underground. 4. Low temperature geothermal resources are abundant throughout the United States.

Disadvantages: 1. Today, geothermal energy produces only a tiny portion of the electricity we need because geysers and hot springs are not found everywhere. Many cities simply have no geysers or hot springs nearby. 2. Geothermal steam and hot water contain hydrogen sulfide and other gases and chemicals that can be harmful in high concentrations. 3. Geothermal heat pumps are more expensive to install (but cheaper to operate) than conventional systems. 4. The earth may settle where underground water has been removed. 5. Power plants may have to be built in scenic areas.


Year 1900s 1960 1970 Event Conversion of high-grade hydrothermal resources to electricity began in Italy. The first commercial-scale development tools were placed in California at The Geysers, a 10-megawatt unit owned by Pacific Gas & Electric. Re-injection of geothermal fluids Injection of spent geothermal fluids back into the production zone began as a means to dispose of waste water and maintain reservoir life. Deep well drilling Technology improvements led to deeper reservoir drilling and access to more resources. Hot dry rock demonstrated In 1977,scientists developed the first hot dry rock reservoir at Fenton Hill, New Mexico.

1972 1977 1978



U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding for geothermal research and development was $106.2 million (1995 dollars) in fiscal year 1978, marking the first time the funding level surpassed $100 million. It remained above $100 million until fiscal year 1982, when it was reduced to $56.4million (1995 dollars). Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA)mandated the purchase of electricity from qualifying facilities (QFs) meeting certain technical standards regarding energy source and efficiency. PURPA also exempted QFs from both State and Federal regulation under the Federal Power Act and the Public Utility Holding Company Act.

1980 1980s

The first commercial-scale binary plant in the United States, installed in Southern California’s Imperial Valley, began operation in 1980. California’s Standard Offer Contract system for PURPA QFs provided renewable electric energy systems a relatively firm and stable market for output, allowing the financing of such capital-intensive technologies as geothermal energy facilities. Geothermal (hydrothermal) electric generating capacity, primarily utility-owned, reached a new high level of 1,000 megawatts. DOE and the Electric Power Research Institute operated a 1-megawatt geopressured power demonstration plant in Texas extracting methane and heat from brine liquids. DOE funding for geothermal energy research and development declined throughout the 1980s, reaching its low point ($15million). The world’s first magma exploratory well was drilled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains to a depth of 7,588 feet. It did not encounter magma at that depth inside the caldera. California Energy became the world’s largest geothermal company through its acquisition of Magma Power. Near-term international markets gained the interest of U.S. geothermal developers.

1982 1989

1990 1991



 

During the period 1985-1995, U.S. geothermal developers had added nearly 1,000megawatts of geothermal electric generating capacity outside The Geysers. Worldwide geothermal capacity reaches 6,000 megawatts.


9. GEOTHERMAL HISTORY: Early Days of The Geysers
The Geysers was famous as a hot water resort long before attempts were made to exploit the naturally occurring steam for electrical production.

The first white man to discover the area imagined that he had found hell. In 1847 William Bell Elliott and son were tracking a grizzly bear in the mountains northeast of Healdsburg. They followed the bear to where The Geysers geothermal project is now located.

According to historical records, he was startled by steam hissing from fumaroles and the smell of hydrogen sulphide. He was later to tell friends, "I thought I had come upon the gates of hell itself."

A hotel was built shortly after Elliot's discovery of the area and by the end of the 1800's the area was nationally known as a health spa. The hotel was to exist in one form or another for more than 80 years. It was destroyed by fire in about 1938.

Titus Fey Cronise recorded his impressions of The Geysers in The Natural Wealth of California in 1868; "The ground shakes and trembles, and the visitor can cause a terrible noise to resound through the spaces by stamping his foot.

"The noise of so many steam vents, each blowing off in a different key, and at irregular intervals, produced a most discordant din.

"Some of these sounds are gentle, some resemble a low growl, while others can scarcely be distinguished from the puffings of a steam engine. With all of these noises, and the putrid smell of sulphur and hydrogen, and the motion of the ground, a feeling of insecurity impresses itself upon the minds of those who visit this place for the first time. "To visit them is in a sense like going back into time," he writes.

The three-day journey to The Geysers' resort began in San Francisco with a voyage on the bay in a paddlewheel steamboat.

The traveler would disembark in Petaluma and continue to Healdsburg on a stagecoach. From Healdsburg horse or stagecoach would provide transportation for the final leg of the journey.

A walk down Big Sulphur Creek, near where Unit I, the first geothermal power plant was built in 1960, the visitor would see steam issuing from the earth in a hundred different places.


In the creek there were hot and cold mineral springs. There were springs of white, red, black sulphur, iron soda and boiling alum springs.

There were powdered mineral residue on rock ledges near the creek and if an adventuresome tourist tasted the residue, his tongue and lips would pucker from the chemicals, according to accounts published by early visitors.

The Geysers and surrounding area remained a tourist curiosity until 1920. John Grant believed that the steam could be harnessed to produce electricity. Grant tried to interest the government of Healdsburg to provide investment capital to finance his venture.

City trustees were interested by the prospect of cheap electricity for the town's municipal distribution system. Enthusiasm cooled by 1921 when the cost of a Geysers' plant and transmission line was shown to be in excess of $50,000.

Grant formed the Geysers Development Company in 1922 and two steam wells were drilled and the first electricity produced by natural steam power plant in the Western Hemisphere was generated on July 5,1923.

The electricity was used at the hotel for lighting. Grant drilled a third well in 1923 with equipment that would be labeled primitive~ by today’s standards.

Internal disputes between the investors disrupted the project. Materials able to resist the corrosive and abrasive property of Geysers steam had not yet been invented. The lack of modern steels was another reason for Grant's failure.

Also there was abundant and relatively inexpensive hydroelectric power available. Grant’s vision to harness the natural energy of the earth to power dynamos was real. It was 30.years later when another visionary, B.C McCabe came to The Geysers. His success in 1955 to tame and capture the earth's natural energy led to the first commercial geothermal power in the Western World. Pacific Gas and Electric Company's Unit I, with an electrical generating capacity of II megawatts resulted in the development of a resource area now producing 302 megawatts of electricity, sufficient to meet the needs of a city of 1.5 million people. From Clear Lake Observer newspaper, March 29, 1984. Picture, “Visitor at the Geysers, 1950” from Pacific Gas and Electric. Photo # 35982.


10. ACTIVITY: Geothermal Rock Performance
(The scene is a band stage. The host of the show addresses the audience.) Pauly Power: It's my pleasure to introduce the next energy band. Today in the U.S. they perform in 64 locations, mostly in western states. Let's give a big welcome to Bruce "Hot" Spring Steam and The Geysers, singing their new hit single "Volcano . Inferno" from their latest album, "Molten Rock." (Bruce ―Hot‖ Spring Steam and The Geysers perform their song to the tune of ―Clementine. ")

Interview Pauly Power: Bruce, I know you are on a world tour right now. Where are you having those concerts? Bruce: Well Pauly, most of our concert halls are located near earthquakes and volcanoes. The "Ring of Fire" that follows the Pacific Rim is our favorite location; however, we also perform in Africa and Europe. Pauly Power: Where do you get your inspiration and energy for your songs? Magma: From the radioactive decay of elements in our studios in the earth's core. Once the songs are written, we send them up through the cracks in the earth's crust. Pauly Power: just how hot is your music? Steamy: Our really hot tunes reach 300 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit. When we turn up the steam, we really can generate a lot of power at those concerts. Pauly Power: Is all your music that hot? Geyser: No, we have cool, earthy music that people allover the country can pump right out of the ground into their houses. This music stays about 5O degrees year round and it's only a few feet underground. Pump it in your house - it cools your brow in the summer and warms your heart in the winter. Pauly Power: Sounds like you're everywhere. How long do you think your band will stay together? Core: Well, our contract is renewable and people love our clean, earthy sound. I think we'll be around for a long, long time, just pumping out those tunes.
From Rock Performances Booklet from National Energy Education Development Project (NEED). The NEED Project has a Teacher kit available, valued at $35, which contains fact books, activity books such as this one, competition opportunities and games that reinforce learning. The kit is available for $35.00 from NEED ( or at a reduced rate of $5.00 by contacting the Tennessee Energy Education Network, 1-800-342-1340 or


11. ACTIVITY: Simple Geothermal Energy
You can demonstrate geothermal energy by using a pinwheel over a whistling tea pot and boiling water. When water reaches the boiling point in the pot, the pressure will push steam against the inside of the pot and it will begin to escape. When the pot whistles, hold the pinwheel over the spout. The wheel will turn.

12. ACTIVITY: Make A Turbine
Materials: Scissors Metric ruler 1 aluminum foil pie pan thumbtack New pencil with eraser 1. From the aluminum pan, cut a circle about 1213 cm in diameter. 2. Divide the circle into halves, then fourths, then eighths (marking the divisions by drawing your pencil down the straight edge of the ruler). As shown in the diagram at the right, cut the circle into 8 blades by cutting along the 8 divisions to within 2 cm of the center. (Do not cut all the way to the center.) 3. Fold up about one-third of each of the 8 blades, as shown. 4. With a thumbtack, punch a hole through the middle of the circle and wiggle it around so that it fits loosely on the tack. 5. Cut a 1-cm circle from the unused part of the pan and use the thumbtack to poke a hole in the center of it. Wiggle it so that it fits loosely. This will be similar to a washer. 6. Insert the tack through the turbine and the washer into end of the pencil's eraser. 7. Hold the end of the pencil, and position the turbine's blades in the steam. The steam will turn the turbine.
From The Energy Sourcebook/ Jr. High Level. This Sourcebook, which covers many energy-related topics, is available in pdf format on a FREE CD-ROM from the Tennessee Valley Authority. The CD-ROM is available in three levels – Elementary, Junior High and High School. To request a free copy of the CD-ROMs, contact Catherine Mackey,TVA, Phone: 865-632-2101 Ext. 4077 Email: or go to the TVA web site to download a pdf version.


13. ACTIVITY: Make a Steam Turbine
Materials: Clean soup can with the top removed Heavy-duty aluminum foil Straight pin Glue Coat hanger Tape Pressure cooker Procedure: 1. Using a clean soup can with the top removed, punch two 1/8 -inch (3-millimeter) holes opposite one another in the bottom, about ¼ inch (6 millimeters) away from the rim. 2. Cut out a disk the diameter of the can from heavy-duty aluminum foil, Pierce the center with a straight pin. 3. To keep the disk from wobbling, glue a ball of aluminum foil the size of a small cherry in the center. 4. After the glue has dried, push the pin through the disk hole and ball. Enlarge the hole so that the disk and ball spin freely. 5. Make eight equally spaced radial (pie) cuts in the disk, cutting all the way to the ball. Twist each pie wedge slightly to form the turbine blades. 6. Then bend an 8-inch (20-centimeter) piece of coat hanger into a squared U shape. Tape the pin to the center of this support wire; then tape the ends of the support wire to the sides of the can so that the turbine is as close to the closed end of the can as possible without touching it. 7. Boil some water in a pressure cooker, setting the open end of the can over the steam vent. When steam starts jetting out, it will pour from the two holes in the soup can to spin the turbine.
From “Electricity From the Earth” in the Energy Reporter, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).


14. ACTIVITY: Do It with Mirrors
Remember that when we burn something, a chemical reaction called "combustion" happens. As a result of this reaction some new materials are created which usually go into the air. Soot, for example, is a byproduct of combustion. Combustion of fuel is one of the main causes of air pollution. We burn fuels to get them to do work for us, such as making engines run in cars. We also burn fuels to heat water to make steam. The steam is used to help generate electricity. In certain places we can use steam directly from the earth - geothermal steam - to make electricity. Materials: Candle Candleholder Matches or lighter Small mirror Kitchen tongs Hot mitt Teakettle Heat source such as a hot plate A source for cleaning the mirror, such as soap Water and towels Goggles, if possible 1. With adult supervision, light the candle, (standing in its holder) 2. Wearing the mitt, hold the mirror in the flame using the kitchen tongs. Do this for about 5 seconds or so. 3. Take the mirror away and look at the results. Be ready to describe what you see and where you think it came from 4. Now try a different version of the experiment. First wash and dry the mirror well. 6. Get the teakettle actively boiling with water. Wearing the hot mitt, use the kitchen tongs to hold the mirror over the steam coming from the teakettle. Don't hold it too long - just a few seconds - or the mirror might slip due to the moisture. 7. Look at the mirror to see the result of using hot water as your energy source. Be ready to discuss the results of both demonstrations and how they relate to energy and pollution. From


15. ACTIVITY: Transferring Heat: Getting the Heat Out!
Build a working model of a heat transfer device.

20 to 30 feet of plastic tubing that is small in diameter (2 to 4 mm) 2 three-liter soda bottles Water 2 small Styrofoam ice coolers 5 pounds of ice 2 thermometers Step stool (or a 2 foot stack of old books -- make sure the stack won't shift or fall!) If you use books, cover them with plastic Newspaper Tape Sand Gravy baster Funnel Duct tape

1, Punch two small holes in the top of the cooler. The holes should be just big enough for the plastic tubing to go through. Place the cooler under a desk or table. 2, Put an end of the plastic tubing through one of the holes and extend it long enough to reach from the cooler, over the table and down to the floor. Put the other end of the tubing through the other cooler-top hole and extend it far enough to reach the middle of the desk or tabletop. Loop the remaining tubing loosely in the cooler and pour in ice to fill the cooler about half way. Fill the cooler to within 3 inches of the top with cold water. Examine the tubing to be sure it isn't kinked anywhere. Place several layers of newspaper on the table or desktop. Put the step stool or stack of books on the tabletop. Fill one of the soda bottles 3/4 full with warm tap water and record the temperature of the water. Put it on the step stool and submerge the long end of the tubing into the warm water. Put about 1 cup of sand in the empty bottle. The sand will add weight to the bottom of the bottle so it doesn't tip. Extend the short end of the tubing into the empty bottle. Put the free end of the tubing in the gravy baster and close off the end by wrapping a finger around it to form a seal around the tube. Squeeze the baster bulb until you see air bubbling in the warm water. Let go of the bulb, drawing water into the tubing. When water starts to flow, put the end of the tubing in the sand bottle. Secure the tubing with tape (it doesn't have to extend to the bottom of the bottle, but it should be inside the neck). Make note of the temperature at 3D-second intervals. When all the water has flowed out of the warm water bottle, make a final temperature reading and repeat the process. This time, slightly pinch the tubing so the water flows more slowly. Record temperatures as in step 6.






TEACHER NOTES: If the siphon does not work properly, have students raise th ereservoir bottle higher. Have them lower it until water tickles into the ―sand‖ bottle. Even with plastic tubing, the heat difference between the top reservoir and bottom reservoir will be measurably different. Metal tubing will induce a dramatic difference. From


16. TRANSPARENCY: The Earth Is Made of Layers

From Transparent Energy (National Energy Education Development Project (NEED). Project.)


17. TRANSPARENCY: Cross Section of the Earth

From Energy Technologies by Copthorn MacDonald.


18. TRANSPARENCY: Ring of Fire

From Transparent Energy (National Energy Education Development Project (NEED). Project.)


19. TRANSPARENCY: Geothermal Energy In the U.S.


20. TRANSPARENCY: Steam Near The Surface

From The Energy Sourcebook/ Jr. High Level. , TVA


21. TRANSPARENCY: Hot, Dry Rock

From The Energy Sourcebook/ Jr. High Level, TVA


22. TRANSPARENCY: Cross Section of Geothermal Resources

From Pacific Gas and Electric


23. TRANSPARENCY: Geothermal Energy Simplified

From Transparent Energy (National Energy Education Development Project (NEED). Project.)


24. TRANSPARENCY: Residential GeoExchange Unit

From Transparent Energy (National Energy Education Development Project (NEED). Project


The word ―Geothermal‖ comes from "geo" for earth and "thermal" for heat. At the time of the earth's formation, the planet was molten rock. Over millions of years, the outer crust cooled, but tremendous heat still lies at the earth's core. Most of this heat results from the decay of the radioactive elements uranium, thorium and potassium which are present deep within the earth, and from friction deep below the earth's crust. The heat rising from the magma warms underground pools of water known as geothermal reservoirs.

Sometimes this heat causes volcanoes to erupt. At other times, it meets underground water and forms steam. If the steam breaks through the earth's crust, it shoots into the air as a geyser. You may have seen the famous geyser called Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. At still other times, heat from the earth's core simply warms the water near the earth's surface causing hot springs. Many ancient peoples, including the Romans, Chinese and Native Americans, used hot mineral springs for bathing, cooking and heating. Others, fearing the strange steam from the earth, have called it "the devil's breath:'

With today's technology, we do not have to wait for the hot water to come to the earth's surface. Instead, we can drill wells deep below the surface of the earth to tap into geothermal reservoirs. This is called direct use of geothermal energy, and it provides a steady stream of hot water that is pumped to the earth's surface so its heat can be used.

Geothermal geysers, boiling mud pots, and warm mineral baths are found throughout the world. In fact, the ancient Romans first used warm mineral springs in their public baths. But, it wasn't until 1904 that geothermal energy was used to produce electricity. The Italians built a generator at Lardarello. Since then, generators have been built to produce electricity from geothermal sources in 21 countries – including China, El Salvador, Iceland (geothermal heat warms more than 70 percent of the homes in Iceland) Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Soviet Union, Turkey, and the United States.

Similar to solar thermal electricity, steam—either pulled directly from the geothermal reservoir or from water heated to make steam—is piped to the power plant. There, it rotates a turbine that generates electricity.

In the U.S., most geothermal energy is found in the west. One source of geothermal power is The Geysers geothermal field located in California, northeast of San Francisco. This power plant is the largest source of geothermal energy in the world and produces as much power as two large coal or nuclear power plants. It produces enough electricity to meet the power demands of San Francisco.


Most geothermal energy is deep underground with no visible surface clues. Although geologists use several methods to help pinpoint geothermal resources, the only way to be sure there is a geothermal resource is to drill wells to measure underground temperatures There are three kinds of geothermal sources: hydrothermal, geopressured, and petrothermal.

Hydrothermal Systems Hydrothermal are the easiest to work with and are the most widely used today, but only make up 10 percent of the geothermal resources.

Hydrothermal resources have the common ingredients of water (hydro) and heat (thermal). These geothermal reservoirs of steam or hot water occur naturally where magma comes close enough to the surface to heat groundwater trapped in fractured or porous rocks or where water circulates at great depth along faults.

When the temperature of a hydrothermal resource is 50 degrees F or higher, it can be used directly in spas or to heat buildings, grow crops, warm fish ponds or for other direct uses. Hydrothermal resources suitable for direct use occur throughout the United States and in almost every country in the world.

When the temperature of a hydrothermal resource is 220 degrees F or higher, it can be used to generate electricity. Most electricity-producing geothermal resources have temperatures from 300 to 700 degrees F, but geothermal reservoirs can reach nearly 1,000 degrees F. Another method of retrieving geothermal energy, hydrofracturing, is still in the developmental stages. Hydrofracturing means pumping very high-pressure water into hot granite rock deep under the surface, to crack a large area of the rock. Pumping water through the cracks and recovering it as steam at the surface allows it to be used in steam generation of electricity. Although hydrofracturing is more costly than conventional geothermal power plants, it might be useful in locations where geothermal energy is not otherwise available.

Geopressured Systems

Geopressured reservoirs contain both water and methane (natural gas). The reservoirs are found in sandstone that is trapped between layers of rock. Water cannot flow through the rock. The weight of the rock on the sand stone also causes great pressure in the reservoir. Geopressured systems make up 20 percent of the geothermal resources. In the United States, geopressured reservoirs are found along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana. Researchers are trying to find ways to use both the water and gas to produce electricity.


Petrothermal Systems

Petrothermal systems, or hot dry rock, make up 70 percent of our geothermal resources. It is also the hardest geothermal resource to recover. In areas where the earth's crust is thinner, magma is close enough to the surface to heat rock that holds little or no water. Engineers are working on ways to take this heat energy from the ground. One solution is to drill two holes into the rock. Liquid is pumped into one hole at very high pressure. This creates a fracture between the two holes. Cold water pumped into one hole picks up heat as it travels through the fracture. The hot water trapped in the second hole is then pumped to the surface. Advantages/Disadvantages of geothermal Energy Geothermal energy is one alternative to fossil fuels (oil, gas, and coal}. It is a renewable resource because the earth's processes naturally remake it. Geothermal energy is relatively clean and reliable. As technology improves, it will also become cheaper to recover.

Geothermal energy's limited accessibility represents its chief drawback. Additionally, we must manage our use of geothermal fields well to avoid depleting them. Some of our most successful geothermal electric plants now face the prospect of literally running out of steam

Another important concern is pollution- particularly hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, radioactive materials, high salinity, and toxic compounds- brought to the surface by using geothermal energy.
From Energy Exchange Magazine (National Energy Education Development Project (NEED). Project.) From Questions Kids Ask About Energy. From From From Louisiana Dept. of Natural Resources, Energy Division 1993 calendar. From The Energy Sourcebook/ Elementary Level, Tennessee Valley Authority


1.9.1 2.9.1 3.9.1 Identify the earth’s major geological features. 2.10.1 3.10.2 Realize that earth materials can be recycled or conserved. 4.9.2 5.9.2 Know that the earth is composed of different layers. 4.14.1 5.14.1 Know that energy exists in many forms 5.10.3 Realize the difference between renewable and non-renewable resources. 8.10.4 Examine different types of energy resources and their importance to man. 8.10.5 Analyze approaches to conserving energy and natural resources.

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