17 Geothermal Energy Facts for Kids
Fossil fuels like gas are not a sustainable fuel! That means that once it is depleted there is no more fuel. Scientists are working very hard to find alternatives to fossil fuel. Geothermal fuel is one of those alternatives.
1. When you think about the word GEOTHERMAL what does it make you think of? Does it make you think of something to do with the earth? Does it make you think of something hot because of the “thermal” part of the word? It is a combination of the Greek word for earth “geo” and the Greek word for heat “thermos”. Geothermal literally translated means earth heat.
2. Geothermal energy is energy that comes from the earth’s core. The center of the earth is HOT. By tapping into the energy that is released from the heat in the center of the earth a new energy form is created.
3. This energy form comes in a limitless supply. It can be used for many different applications from home heating to industrial needs. This is not a newly discovered energy source but it is being used in different ways to meet the global need for energy.
4. Geothermal energy provides electricity to homes around the world, heat and hot water and has plenty of industrial uses as well.
How It Works In Homes
5. About four feet in the ground the temperature always remains the same. The temperature stays around 55 degrees year round. A geothermal energy system used to heat a home starts with burying pipes deeper than 4 feet in the ground where the ground is much hotter.
6 Fluid is pumped through the pipes and heated by the geothermal energy than sent back into the house where it is converted in a heat exchange which can than warm the air of the home. Too keep things cool everything happens in the opposite direction.
7. Converting geothermal energy into electricity starts with the steam underground. The steam is pressurized and used to move large generators that create electricity for communities. The largest geothermal power plant in the US is located in California and it creates enough electricity every day for over 22000 homes.
8 The only problem with using geothermal energy to generate electricity is that it is only available in areas where there are natural hot springs so clearly it can only be used in specific geological locations because of the need for natural hot springs.
9. The benefits of using this type of energy source are numerous including more efficient use of energy. With many energy sources a good part of the energy is lost during processing of the energy but with geothermal energy none of the energy is lost it is all used. Of course the fact that it is clean burning energy is also a big benefit. It is just hot water vapor in the form of steam. There is no harmful toxins that are released with this energy option. There is no pollution when geothermal energy is used to heat a home or a commercial space.
10. There is no limit to the supply of this energy source. As long as the earth is turning there will be geothermal energy. There are no chemicals involved in harvesting this energy so there is a lot less worry about contamination of ground water.
11. It is a cheap source of energy.
12. Some countries have powered ahead and adopted geothermal energy to heat homes, to heat hot water and for industrial use. In the United States less than 1% of the energy used comes from geothermal sources but in other parts of the world this energy source is being used as much as 30% to produce electricity.
13. There are 24 countries around the globe that are using geothermal energy as one of the primary sources for creating electricity. There are 70 countries in all that use geothermal energy as a heat source or for some other application.
14. In Iceland there are some areas that rely completely on geothermal energy from hot springs for their hot water.
15. Hot springs have been used as healing pools for thousands of years.
16. Of course this all sounds great but there is a few problems with this energy source the largest of which is the limited geographical locations that it can be used. It is not an option that can really be mass produced unless the country is a bevy of hot springs.
17. It can and should be used where it can to save money, to cut down on pollution and to give the fossil fuels a break. Science has yet to perfect harvesting geothermal energy on a large scale but as time wears and fossil fuels become less available it is very likely that this energy source will become more and more studied and available.