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Geothermal Energy

Powerful Essays
Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is a superior source of energy because it is constantly being produced. Radioactive decay of nuclei with long half lives that were imbedded in the Earth’s interior during its genesis accounts for seventy percent of the globe’s internal energy. The remainder of this energy is derived from either the residual heat left over form the Earth’s formation, gravitational forces, or meteorite impacts.

Geothermal energy is available anywhere on the planet. On average the Earth emits one sixteenth of a watt per meter squared, however this number can dramatically increase in regions near volcanoes, hot springs and fumaroles. Therefore, the uniqueness of each location around the world causes the Earth’s internal heat to be stored underground in many different natural structures. In some areas, the globe’s heat is stored in the rocks that form the Earth. There is a normal temperature increase, called the Normal Geothermal Gradient, of 30 degrees Celsius for every kilometer dug below the Earth’s surface. However, the precise amount of temperature increase that occurs as one’s depth increases is not a constant over the entire surface, it depends on the rock’s temperature. Therefore, in hotter sections of the planet there is Hot Dry Rock which produces an increase in temperature of forty degrees for every kilometer dug below the surface. In addition, a reserve of geothermal heat even hotter than the solid rock type is molten magma, which is melted rock.

Also, some regions of the planet house underground aquifers that use water to store large quantities of heat. Some areas contain vast hot water pools deep below the surface called Hot Water Reservoirs. In other places the conditions are r...

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...ability it will surely be developed much more extensively in the near future. This source of energy will also be able to be used for a long time into the future because geothermal energy’s sources will continue to replace the energy used. In addition, it is estimated that the Earth can produce 600,000 exajoules of energy over five million years. This rate is believed to be enough energy to fulfill human energy requirements for the rest of the biosphere.

Sources

For my sources, I used the text book, Energy and the Environment and the following websites.

• http://www.eren.doe.gov/geothermal/

• http://www.h2ssafety.com/hydrogen_sulfide.htm

• http://www.geothermie.de/egec_geothernet/menu/frameset.htm

• http://www.worldbank.org/html/fpd/energy/geothermal/markets.htm

• http://www.worldbank.org/html/fpd/energy/geothermal/

• http://www.ees4.lanl.gov/hdr/
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