What are the Disadvantages of Geothermal Energy?

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Geothermal energy capture

In order to understand the disadvantages of Geothermal energy, there should be a clear understanding of is Geothermal energy. Geothermal energy is somewhat of an unknown entity in the average person’s knowledge of alternative power sources. The interior of the earth is made from molten rock and what geothermal energy does is capture the heat under the Earth’s crust to create power source. Geothermal energy is the energy derived from the heat in the interior of the earth. Geothermal power is the power extracted from heat stored in the earth. The Geothermal energy originates from the original formation of the planet, from radioactive decay of minerals, and from solar energy absorbed at the surface. It is also known as the thermal energy generated and stored in the earth. The word Geothermal came from the Greek word “geo” meaning “earth” and “thermos” meaning “heat”.

What is the History behind geothermal energy?

The benefits and disadvantages of geothermal energy were first hypothesized at the end of 1800s. After years of research, the first geothermal generator was built in 1904. On July 4, Italian Prince Piero Ginori Conti activated the machine on the dry steam field in Larderello. Researches working at the time found that the power was efficient and sustainable. Also, they realized that the challenges geothermal power had would hold the technology to its early state of years. Due to its advantages as well as disadvantages, may countries including United States, made efforts to construct geothermal power plants.

How is the Geothermal Energy produced?

The center of the earth is so hot that it can melt rock very easily. As we go down in the earth’s crust, the temperature gets higher and higher. Approximately, for every 40 yards, the temperature raises about 34 degree Fahrenheit. The heated rocks below the earth’s surface heat up water to create steam. Holes are drilled into these specific geothermal regions so that the steam can escape. During the process, the geothermal power station drills the holes mentioned above and creates an injection well where cold water is pumped down the well. This cold water filters through the hot rocks and then pressure is used to bring the water back up. Once the hot water reaches the surface, it turns into the steam which is then connected for power. The steam is cleaned and filtered and then used to power turbines, which in turn provide an electric power source.

What are the advantages of Geothermal energy?

One of the beat advantages of geothermal energy is the lack of pollution created. Governments and companies concluded that there was an interest in reducing carbon emissions on a global scale. The U.S. Oceanic and atmospheric administration reports that, humans produce more than 27 billion tons of carbon emissions per year. Since geo thermal energy does not contribute to this pollution, many organizations have pushed its implementation. In addition to that geothermal energy does not use fuel to generate electricity. Cold water is pumped into the ground and super heated. This is again a good for the eco-system.

 

What are the disadvantages of geothermal energy?

  • Locations: One of the biggest disadvantages of geothermal energy is the low number of suitable locations for a power plant. An ideal location has suitable hot rocks at a depth that allows for easy drilling. The type of rock above the hot rocks must also be easy to drill.
  • Longevity: The next drawback is the longevity of the locations. Sometimes, the locations may temporarily run out of steam. This sometimes lasts for months. In these situations, the power plants won’t have enough energy to generate electricity.
  • Transportation: One of the disadvantages is geothermal energy is not easily transported. It can only be used to generate small amount electricity when compared to other fuel sources for surrounding areas. While transportation is a drawback, released substance is also a concern.
  • Hazardous materials: Next drawback is geothermal energy are hazardous gases and minerals. They can come up from underground along with the steam. The most common substance released is hydrogen sulphide, which is very difficult to dispose off safely. Other minerals are arsenic, mercury and ammonia which are hazardous too.
  • Causes Earthquakes: One of the final and extremely dangerous disadvantage is the likelihood of recurring earthquakes. People who live in areas of production report that there are an increasing number of earthquakes in the area. Although, they are low-level quakes no stronger than magnitude 4, they are damaging homes foundations.

     
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