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Geothermal Energy - Essay Example

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Complete Geothermal Energy as a Renewable Energy Source Understanding the Essence of Geothermal Energy Heat derived from the Earth by means of a natural geologic process has been widely attributed to 'geothermal energy' (with Greek words geo meaning earth and therm for heat) treated as a remarkable alternative to fossil fuels or other non-renewable energy resources…
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Geothermal Energy
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Download file to see previous pages Unlike the conventional method of burning fuels to produce the heat required, optimizing earth's energy from deep within the ground is by nature sustainable and would not take additional chemical process to be transformed to a useful form. Moreover, geothermal energy is never likely to contribute to greenhouse effect as fossil fuels are and once put up, the power plant would be self-sustaining or not necessitating external energies aside from the power it yields. Roughly 33,000 feet beneath the earth's surface lies heat that contains about fifty thousand times more energy compared to the combined presence of natural gas and oil currently processed by men. This inevitably fluid heat experiences high temperatures in various zones where layers upon layers of molten rock commonly known as 'magma' are continuously formed as a consequence of naturally occurring radioactive elements that undergo intense decomposition on a subatomic level for several years. Because magma is less dense than the rocks surrounding it, it rises to the surface. Sometimes magma escapes through cracks in the Earth's crust, erupting out of volcanoes as part of lava. But most of the time magma stays beneath the surface, heating surrounding rocks and the water that has become trapped within those rocks. Sometimes that water escapes through cracks in the Earth to form pools of hot water (hot springs) or bursts of hot water and steam (geysers). The rest of the heated water remains in pools under the Earth's surface, called geothermal reservoirs. By the Earth’s crust shifting and allowing water to mix into natural hot-spots water is superheated and then vented through holes in the Earth’s surface with tremendous power. The superheated water generated at these locations can naturally reach temperatures of up to 200°C (430°F). Earth's core is nearly 6000°C - hot enough to melt a rock. Even a few kilometers down, the temperature can be over 250 °C given that the Earth's crust is thin. Temperature generally rises a degree Celsius for every 30 - 50 meters you go down, but this alters with respect to location. Among the hotspots from which geothermal energy may be obtained are certain states of America as Oregon, California, Alaska, and Nevada which possesses a significant number of volcanoes comprising the Pacific Rim or the Pacific 'Ring of Fire'. Hotspots are typically close to fault lines or young volcanoes were the Earth’s crust is thin enough to allow internal heat to escape and be accessed by as little drilling is possible. It may be a surprising fact to discover that besides these seismically active regions, any other location on earth ranging from a depth of 10 to a few hundred feet through the crust is capable of heating objects even at lower degrees. The capacity to generate electricity by extracting heat out of these places would of course depend on the quantity of drawn heat which can be converted to electrical energy. Landrello, in Italy is the first to own a geothermal power station, followed by Wairekei in New Zealand and a few others were built in Iceland, Japan, Indonesia, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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