Geothermal power plants use super-heated fluids from the earth’s geothermal resources to generate electricity the natural heat of the earth creates the geothermal resources this heat comes from molten rock, called magma located at the earth’s core deep below the geothermal resource over thousands of years rain waters seeps through cracks in the earth’s surface and collects in underground reservoirs the magma heats the water until it becomes a super-heated fluid to reach the super heated fluid wells are drilled 5,000 to 10,000 feet below the surface of the earth these wells called production wells bring the super-heated fluid to the earth surface where it can be used to generate electricity for homes and businesses this geothermal power-plant uses crystallizer-reactor clarifier technology a process that turns the geothermal super-heated fluid in to steam while removing solids from it the steam is used to drive a turbine and generate electricity all remaining geothermal fluids are injected back in to the reservoir for reuse under its own pressure .Geothermal energy sometimes finds its way to the surface in the form of volcanoes and hot springs and geysers.
Advantages of Geothermal energy:
- Cost saving
geothermal energy saves 80% costs over fossil fuels and no fuel is used to generate the power and it requires minimum land space as compared to other power plants so its operating costs it also quite low, once a geothermal power station is implemented, the energy produced from the station is practically free, minus maintenance costs. A small amount of energy is required in order to run a pump, although this pump can be powered by excess energy generated at the plant.
- Less pollution
Geothermal plants produce almost no emissions because they do not burn fuel to generate electricity so it is one of the cleanest forms of energy now available in commercial quantities. also, it is avoiding the problems of acid rain and greatly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of air pollution where It produces only about one-sixth of the CO2 and none of the NOx’s or sulfur gases that fossil fuel plants emit. Potentially hazardous elements produced in geothermal brines are usually injected back into the producing reservoir, for these reasons alone this method of energy production can be a very environmentally friendly.
- Direct use.
Geothermal Ground Source Heat Pumps for Residential Use where Heat pumps can reduce both air conditioning peak loads as well as winter heating loads, in addition, they are normally used to heat water (or as hot water) in households and buildings.
- This source of energy is free and renewable, because the energy extracted from the earth, even if utilized to fulfill 100% of our energy needs, would represent only a miniscule fraction of the planet's total energy store.
- Geothermal energy is base load power and it’s had a high capacity factor where it is run continuously day and night with an uptime typically exceeding 95 per cent.
Disadvantage of geothermal energy:
- Specific location needed (Not all areas are suitable for production of electricity in this way and it also depends on the structure of rocks. It is only suitable for regions with have hot rocks, below the earth and can produce steam over a long period of time. Some countries have been blessed with great resources Iceland and Philippines meets nearly are third of their electricity demand with geothermal energy).
- High installation costs (even though operating costs are low cost of setting up a geothermal plant is very high also its expensive to drill holes so deep in to the earth.)
- Can cause earthquakes (Deep drilling for this resource can affect stability of the land and cause small earthquakes.)
Solutions For the problems of the geothermal energy:
- Geothermal is now feasible in areas where the earth’s crust is thicker, using enhanced geothermal technology, it is possible to drill deeper and to inject water to generate geothermal power, instead of drilling three miles beneath the earth's surface, scientists could access this power at geothermal hotspots, which are volcanic features found all around the world. At the hotspot the mantle is thin, and excess heat from the interior of the earth is transmitted to the outer crust. These geothermal hotspots can easily be used to generate electricity.
- The majority of geothermal technology in current use comes from hot springs, as they are generally shallow and more easily accessible. Deeper sources require expensive drilling, it may be more expensive to install geothermal energy systems at the start, but over the long term the benefits may make it economically and environmentally worthwhile.
- scientists continue research using nanotechnology to solve these issues. Solutions are being developed that uses nanotechnology, where energy can be produced from lower temperature sources. There won’t be the need to drill as deeply to produce effective amounts of energy, greatly reducing the risk of earthquakes. Because of lower temperature requirements, nanotechnology and geothermal energy will make it possible to generate power and improve its production efficiency in more places, making the number of people who would benefit much greater. Where Researchers had been found that nanostructures could also act as heat-storage particles within special liquids such as alkanes, which are currently used to help turn power turbines in geothermal plants through evaporation.
Despite a few disadvantages it is an undeniable fact the geothermal energy is an extremely valuable, simple, and clean source of energy that can be benefit mankind in a big way where the dangers of deep drilling for geothermal sources have not prevented Icelanders from going ahead with a plan to tap a volcano for boundless energy.