A geothermal power plant uses its geothermal activity to generate power. This type of natural energy production is extremely environmentally friendly and used in many geothermal hot spots around the globe.
To harness the energy, deep holes are drilled into the earth (much like when drilling for oil) until a significant geothermal hot spot is found.
When the heat source has been discovered, a pipe is attached deep down inside the hole which allows hot steam from deep within the earth’s crust to rise up to the surface.
The pressurized steam is then channelled into a turbine which begins to turn under the large force of the steam. This turbine is linked to the generator and so the generator also begins to turn, generating electricity. We then pump cold water down a new pipe which is heated by the earth and then sent back up the first pipe to repeat the process.
The main problems with geothermal energy is that firstly, you must not pump too much cold water into the earth, as this could could cool the rocks too much, resulting in your geothermal heat source cooling down. secondly, geothermal power plants must be careful of escaping gases from deep within the earth.
A very good way of thinking about geothermal energy is remembering that all our continents lie on molten rock deep within the earth, this rock produces tremendous levels of heat that we are able to extract, just think of your nation lying on a bed of fire.
Geothermal power is one of the most renewable energy sources that exists on our planet today, the earth will contain this heat for our lifetime. If this heat disappears, our planet will become too cold to survive on.
You can purchase small scale geothermal equipment for your home yet this works in a different manner to geothermal power stations. The power stations extract the heat directly from deep within the earth, whereas home geothermal hot water equipment absorbs heat over a lengthy period of time from a few meters beneath your feet.