What Is Geothermal Energy
In this article we shall explore information to provide an answer to the question; what is geothermal energy? We hope this source will be suitable for educational reference to both adults and teenagers.
Geothermal heat sources are used in a variety of ways across our world today, from geothermal power plants, to geothermal hot water systems, we shall now attempt to understand what this geothermal energy is, and where it comes from.
What geothermal energy is, can essentially be described with the sentence heat contained and produced by the heating of the earth in two different ways. The more powerful geothermal energy comes from deep within the earth, where the temperature is hot enough to melt the surrounding rocks. The second source of geothermal energy is as a results of the suns rays beating down on the land surface. We shall now look into these two main sources.
The center of the earth is approximately 4000 degrees Celsius, as described in the above sentence, this tremendous amount of heat is capable of turning rocks into liquid. This heat is able to warm the earth right up to surface. The reason you do not burn your feet when they touch the ground is because there is a great distance between our feet and this molten rock, and only a very small, but significant fraction of this heat is transferred to the surface.
You may find molten rock very close to surface along fault lines and around volcanoes, and this enables a volcanic area to be a very significant source of geothermal power. So we have now discovered the most powerful source of geothermal energy comes from the core of the earth, and if you are planning to harness geothermal energy, you are best doing so where molten rock is closest to the surface.
The second source is more commonly overlooked as an alternative to the earths geothermal heat source, yet this method is installed in a significant amount of homes in areas such as Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, and is becoming more popular in the U.K.
The great advantage of the suns geothermal effect, is you are able to harness the power in most areas unlike the earths geothermal heat source, where the location of, lets say a geothermal power plant can be the deciding factor in it's efficiency. So, geothermal energy from the sun is essentially a solar energy idea in that the original source of "ground source heat energy" is from the sun.
All through the day, the suns rays shine down on the earths surface, and this heats the first couple of meters of our earth quite significantly. To understand this more, think about when it's been snowing, and sun then comes out. Do you notice how there is always snow left in shaded areas a long time after the rest of the snow has melted? This isn't to do with the general temperature increasing, it is the heat contained within the suns rays. This shows you how powerful our sun is, in that it is able to melt snow on our surface.
A very good, proven method of extracting this geothermal energy from the sun is though the use of geothermal heat pumps, which enable a low cost hot water heating system that is very environmentally friendly for your home.