General, Research, Technology

How the earth can serve as a source of inexhaustible energy

All city dwellers are accustomed to the fact thatelectricity and heat enter their homes somehow by themselves. Pay for them every month and it will be light, warm and tasty to smell from the kitchen at home. But have you ever wondered where all this energy comes from? In large cities, as a rule, these are hydroelectric power plants, thermal power plants and nuclear power plants. Today we’ll talk about a slightly specific, but very interesting way of generating heat and light directly from the dark bowels of our planet. You don’t have to burn anything.

Geothermal power station in all its glory.

Before talking about energy production,let's imagine a place remote from major cities. Not a village in which 10 residents live in 15 rickety houses, but just a small town. It is advisable to be near the volcano. If presented, then now we need to understand how to deliver electricity and heating there.

Can build a thermal power plant and roundburning natural resources that cost a lot of money, spoil the environment and require at least a good road for their delivery, or even a railway line.

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The second option would be an expensive nuclear power plant,which carries quite understandable risks and requires the work of specialists of a narrow profile. This is also not a good option for small cities. But then what to choose and how to provide people with household goods?


  • 1 What is GeoTES
  • 2 Types of GeoTES
  • 3 First geothermal power station
  • 4 Efficiency of a geothermal power station
  • 5 Prospects of geo-TPP

What is GeoTES

Before you talk about the power plants themselves, it is worth saying what is geothermal energy in general.

Geothermal energy is energy derived from the natural heat of the Earth.

To obtain heat from the bowels of the earth is requireddrilling of the wells. Moreover, the deeper the well, the more energy can be obtained. The geothermal gradient in the well increases by an average of 1 ° C every 36 meters. Heat is delivered to the surface in the form of steam or hot water, and it can be used both for the production of electricity and for heating. Due to the fact that there are terminal regions around the world, many countries can use this method of generating energy.

The most successful places to host suchpower plants are the joints of tectonic plates. It is in these zones that the bark is thinner and warmth easier to obtain. Let me remind you that it is believed that the temperature in the center of the earth is not lower than 6800 degrees. The closer to the center, the higher the temperature. Everything is logical.

A geothermal power plant operates according to this scheme.

In the simplest example, a GeoTES works byreceiving water vapor, which turns a turbine that generates electricity, but because of the characteristics of each particular option, they are divided into several types.

Types of GeoTES

The simplest type of GeoTES is used at workthe so-called direct scheme. With it, steam rises through the pipes and immediately spins the turbine. In an indirect scheme, before getting into the pipes, the steam is cleaned of gases that cause accelerated destruction of the metal. If gas is removed after water condensation, the circuit is considered mixed. But there is also a binary circuit, which is the most technologically advanced.

An example of such stations is geothermalLandau Power Station in Germany. It uses thermal water to deliver heat from the bowels of the earth, but then another liquid with a low boiling point is included in the case. She spins the turbines. As a rule, isopentane is used for this. This method allows you to place power plants in those places where there is no access to such heat sources that can directly produce steam for the turbine. For their work there is enough water with a temperature of not more than 70 degrees.

First geothermal power station

We are all used to the fact that many years agoenergy was extracted from natural resources. So it was, but just before that, one of their first power plants was geothermal. In general, this is very logical, since the technique worked on steam traction, and using steam was the most correct solution. And actually the only one for that time, not counting the burning of wood and coal.

Back in 1817, Count Francois de Larderell developed a technology for collecting natural steam, which was very useful in the twentieth century, when the demand for geothermal power plants became very high.

The first really working station was builtin the Italian city of Larderello in 1904. True, it was more a prototype, since it could only supply 4 bulbs, but it worked. Six years later, in 1910, a really working station was built in the same city, which could produce energy sufficient for industrial use.

Even in such picturesque places there can be GeoTES.

Experimental generators were built in many places, but it was Italy until 1958 that held the lead and was the only producer of geothermal energy in the world on an industrial scale.

I had to give up leadership afterNew Zealand launched the Wairakei Power Station. It was the first indirect-type geothermal power plant. A few years later, similar facilities were opened in other countries, including the United States with its sources in California.

The first indirect type of power plant was built inUSSR in 1967. At this time, this method of generating energy began to develop rapidly around the world. Especially in places such as Alaska, the Philippines and Indonesia, which are still among the leaders in the energy extracted in this way.

Efficiency of a geothermal power station

In fact, it cannot be said that geo-TPPeffective, since their efficiency is only 7-10 percent. This is very small compared with facilities where energy is extracted from burning fuel. That is why you can’t just dig a hole, put a pipe into it and go to rest. The system must be highly efficient and use several cycles for greater productivity, otherwise the energy received will not be enough even for the operation of the pumps used to deliver the liquid to the surface.

Key factor for geothermal successpower plants, in comparison with wind and solar, is their constancy. They are able to work 24/7 with the same intensity, spending less energy on work than is produced at the output. An additional plus is the possibility of obtaining heat used for heating houses and objects in the immediate area. And for all this, you do not need to burn expensive fuel.

Prospects for geothermal power plants

More than a hundred years after the firstdemonstrations of the possibilities of using geothermal energy, stations operating on this “fuel” are promising and indispensable for some regions. In Russia, for example, almost all stations are located in Kamchatka. In the USA it is about California, and in Germany about some Alpine areas.

Countries leaders in the production of energy from geothermal sources.

Five leaders in terms of volume produced by GeoTESEnergy includes the USA, Indonesia, the Philippines, Italy and New Zealand. It is easy to see that these are countries with completely different levels of development. It turns out that geothermal energy is available to everyone and everyone is interested in it. With the development of technology, increasing the efficiency of stations and decreasing stocks of non-renewable energy sources, geothermal energy will become more and more popular.

For those who worry about the temperature of the planet,It is worth saying that at a temperature of the center of the Earth at least 6800 degrees Celsius, it cools down by only 300-500 degrees in a billion years. I think you should not worry about this.