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                                Benefits of Geothermal Energy

                                        Ural Seyhan


                                        26. 04. 2005




Benefits of Geothermal Energy
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Thesis: Although people think that geothermal energy is just an underground source, it should

       be used due to its benefits like high efficient heating, economical factors and being

       nature friendly.

       I. High efficient heating

         A. Heating of buildings

         B. Greenhouses

         C. Swimming pools

         D. Fish farms

      II. Economical factors

         A. Low costs

             1. Low expenditures

             2. Low cost of heating

         B. Geothermal tourism

             1. Hot spring resorts

             2. Medical

         C. Electricity generation

      III. Nature friendly

         A. No hydrocarbons usage

             1. No air pollution

               a. Ozone friendly

               b. No global warming




             2. No earth deformation
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B. Renewable energy
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       Throughout history people have always tried to guess what our planet is made of.

There were no clear answers for how volcanoes, geysers and earthquakes occurred. Scientists

with the help of modern technology have proved that Earth has got many layers. They have

observed that the inner layers of our planet consist of magma, a very hot liquid mixture that

can melt almost all elements of the periodic table. That complex mixture is responsible for all

underground nature cataclysms, such as volcanoes and earthquakes. However, scientists have

invented that magma can also be useful. It was how the idea for geothermal energy born.

Scientists could see that in the near future, geothermal energy will completely replace fossil

fuels in some specific areas. A huge “thermal reservoir” that is thousands of feet below the

earth surface is the place where geothermal energy is drawn from (Geothermal, n.d., p.1).

Nowadays some countries have already started to use geothermal energy in many areas.

Although people think that geothermal energy is just an underground source, it should be used

due to its benefits like high efficient heating, economical factors and being nature friendly.

       First of all, geothermal energy should be used due to its high efficiency of heating.

Geothermal energy systems are probably the most efficient heating and air-conditioning

systems available for any home today. Geothermal energy is seemed to be ideal for heating of

all types of buildings, greenhouses, swimming pools and fish farms. Jessop (1990, p.3) asserts

that, “Probably the greatest contribution of geothermal research to the technological world

and to the provision of comfort and convenience to humanity lies in the exploitation of the

enormous resource of geothermal heat.” Without any transformation hot water obtained from

underground, can heat structures (“Geothermal”, n.d., p.1). Thus it means that no installation

of extra devices is required. Geothermal energy is also widely used in greenhouse heating. As

Lineau (1997) states, “greenhouse heating is one of the popular applications of low - to
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moderated temperatures”…These heating systems are installed to work in low temperature.

States of the west use those resources widely, and that is really helpful for expansion of

geothermal energy (GHC Bulletin, p.5). Swimming pools can also be heated by geothermal

energy. As it was stated in the article “Swimming in Iceland”, there are many swimming

pools in Ireland that are heated by geothermal energy. Despite being located far away from

geothermal sources, they are very popular and these pools can be found all over the country.

“They do not depend on the weather conditions, so they are open all year long” (n.d., p.1).

High efficiency of heating by geothermal energy is very useful in a fish farm sector. In that

case water in fish farms is heated or cooled in a short time. The fish farm in San Luis Valley

can be given as a good example for a fish farm. These farms use geothermal waters. After

creating the fish farm, alligator farms were created in order to consume waste remained from

fish grow. In that case alligators could also be used as a marketing product. And besides

those, greenhouses were installed and the waste water coming from fish farm is used in order

to grow tropical pants (“Colorado Gator”, n.d., para.1). Fish farm located in San Luis Valley

shows us how widely the heat obtained from geothermal energy can be used. Not only the fish

farms, but alligator farms and tropical plants houses are installed and benefit from geothermal

energy heat.

       Secondly, geothermal energy has a great effect on economics. Nowadays where

electricity production is expensive and fossil fuels prices are unstable, geothermal energy

seemed to be the best alternative to replace them both. Geothermal energy reduces cost with

low expenditures and low cost of heating. As it was stated by Alliant Energy Alliance:

       The key economic advantage of a geothermal heating and cooling system is its energy

       efficiency. For every one unit of energy it uses, it produces 2.5 to 3.5 units of heat – an
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       average efficiency of 300 percent! That means with a geothermal system, you‟ll get

       the most value, comfort and convenience for your energy dollar. (p.1)

Therefore these facts show us that by paying only 30 percent of the money we used to pay, we

get the same amount of energy. As it was stated in the article “Economic Advantages”:

       “Investing in a geothermal system can cut residential energy costs by 30 percent over

       natural gas systems, and up to 50 percent over electric resistance heating. Over the life

       of the system, you could expect to save $20,000 on your utility bills” (n.d., p.1).

Thus it means that, geothermal systems used in a long period of time decrease the expenditu-

res and costs of heating. Geothermal energy sources are used to attract tourists to the country.

Geothermal energy sources, that are mostly geysers, are the most visited places. Tourists all

over the world, visit the specific regions, in order to observe geysers. According to statistic,

each year geothermal places in Waikato region host two million tourists (“Visitor Numbers to

Geothermal Areas”, n.d., p.1). It must also be remembered that geothermal sources are

widely used in medical needs. According to statistics, of researches done by some universities

water obtained from underground is used in treatment of such diseases like arthritis, obesity,

disorders of cardiovascular system, diabetes and kidney disorders (Gürcan, 2002, p.13). The

ability of geothermal water to treat some specific diseases creates extra number of visitors.

Geothermal energy is also useful in energy production. As it is stated in the article “Fifteen

geothermal plants in the „Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resources Area‟ generate 268

million watts of electricity and create more than 600 employees”. Very hot water is obtained

from thousands of feet below the earth surface, and this water generates electricity by rotating

turbines (Geothermal, n.d., p.1).

        Lastly, geothermal energy is advantageous due to its nature friendly properties. Air

pollution, global heating, ozone layer problems, huge carbon monoxide emissions are the
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problems that humanity created on its own. Air pollution, ozone layer problems and carbon

monoxide emissions generally affect human health, however global heating can bring us back

to the ice age. The reason of these problems is the usage of fossil fuels. Scientists claim that in

near future, geothermal energy will be sufficient to replace fossil fuels. There is no danger

linked with carbon monoxide and open flames in geothermal systems, due to the reason that

no hydrocarbons are used (“Environment Advantages”, 2003, p.1). “With virtually no air

emissions, geothermal energy can help keep our air clean and our atmosphere clear” (“Air

pollution”, n.d., p.1). No usage of gas and petroleum will not affect nature negatively. There

will be observable decrease of diseases caused by air pollution and carbon monoxide

emissions, due to the reason that no hazardous gases are yielded. Geothermal energy systems

are accepted as ozone friendly. Therefore no ozone layer will rise. Skin cancer will decrease.

Geothermal energy will be also a solution in a problem of global warming. Geothermal

energy can become a solution to the problem of global heating, due to the low emission of

carbon dioxide (“Global Warming”, n.d., p.1). It must also be reminded that obtaining fossil

fuel causes earth surface deformation. That problem is mostly observed in coal production,

due to the reason that empty space that occurs is filled with nothing. In a case of geothermal

energy, there will be no earth surface deformation, as it was in case of the fossil fuel usage.

Besides the advantage of minimum earth surface deformation, geothermal energy can be

accepted as a renewable energy. Geothermal energy can be accepted as a renewable energy,

since we can benefit from its heat several times (“Geothermal”, n.d., p.2).

       In conclusion, geothermal energy is seemed to be the revolutionary type of energy,

which will replace fossil fuel in the near future due to its incredible properties of geothermal
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energy. As the installation price of geothermal system decreases, more people will begin to

use them. Geothermal energy will heat houses, schools, swimming pools and many other

building that we live, use or work in. There will be no problem in obtaining it, because

underground hot water is found everywhere on a planet, even in Alaska. Thus, geothermal

energy systems will become more widespread all over the world. In such cold regions like

Siberia and Alaska, geothermal energy will be used for heating. In hot regions like Arabic

Gulf and Africa, geothermal energy will be used for cooling. Thus shows how geothermal

energy multifunctional is. Geothermal energy is clean, ozone friendly and has no air

emissions. Therefore, governments of all countries will be able to get rid of problems caused

by the usage of fossil fuel. There is no need to wait about developing geothermal energy

systems. Nobody can predict when, but it certain that, one day geothermal energy will help us

to make our planet clean again.
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                                         References

Alliant Energy (n.d.). What it is: Geothermal and You. Retrieved April 1, 2005 from

       http://www.alliantenergygeothermal.com/stellent2/groups/public/documents/pub/geo_

       wha_you_001215.hcsp#P–4_0

Canren. (2000). Using hot water from the ground to provide heat. Retrieved March 25, 2005,

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Environment Waikato. (2001). Visitor Numbers to Geothermal Areas. Retrieved April 1, 2005

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Geotility. (2003). Environmental advantages. Retrieved March 6, 2005 from

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Gürcan, B. (2002). Eskişehir’in şifalı sıcak su zenginliği [Abundance of healing hot water of

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Jessop, M.A. (1990). Thermal geophysics. New York: Elsevier.

Lienau, P. (1997). Geothermal greenhouse development update. Retrieved March 6, 2005,

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Salton Sea Authority. (n.d.). Economic Development and the Sea. Retrieved March 25, 2005 f
                                                                    Geothermal Energy     10

       from saltonsea.ca.gov

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Soltice Organizations. (n.d.). Geothermal and the Environment: Global Warming. Retrieved

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Swimming in Iceland. (n.d.). Swimming pools in Iceland. Retrieved March 6, 2005 from

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Texas State Conservation Energy Office (n.d.). Texas' renewable energy resources. Retrieved

       March 25, 2005, from http://www.infinitepower.org/resgeothermal.htm
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