Select your language

Suggested languages for you:
Log In Start studying!
StudySmarter - The all-in-one study app.
4.8 • +11k Ratings
More than 3 Million Downloads
Free
|
|

All-in-one learning app

  • Flashcards
  • NotesNotes
  • ExplanationsExplanations
  • Study Planner
  • Textbook solutions
Start studying

Geothermal Energy

Save Save
Print Print
Edit Edit
Sign up to use all features for free. Sign up now
Geothermal Energy

Did you know that the habitation of Paleo-Indians near hot springs more than 10,000 years ago was the earliest human use of geothermal resources in North America? Warmth and cleanliness were provided by the springs, while healing was provided by their minerals. Although geothermal energy was used mostly for health back at the time, now it serves a range of purposes.

In this article, we will talk about what geothermal energy is, what advantages and disadvantages it has, and its importance.

Geothermal Energy Definition

Geothermal energy can be defined as thermal energy occurring from the energy captured throughout the Earth's formation and from the radioactive decay of materials about 5 billion years ago. However, since the rate of energy emerging from the Sun is 5000 times faster than the rate of heat flow through Earth's crust, Earth's surface temperature is determined by energy from the Sun rather than heat flowing from its core.

Geothermal energy is considered to be a renewable resource since its source is the nearly limitless quantity of heat generated by the Earth's core. Also, it is a sustainable energy source because even if geothermal areas rely on a hot water reservoir, the volume of water extracted can be reinjected.

The three main geologic formations: hydrothermal vents, geopressured, hot and dry rock, and magma enable geothermal energy extraction. Locations in which geothermal energy is available are distributed in areas with geologic instability that frequently undergo active volcanoes and tectonic movements.

Geothermal energy An image of geothermal energy capacities in the world StudySmarterHere is an image of installed geothermal energy capacity in 2020 measured in megawatts. The United States has the highest capacity. Our World in Data

Advantages of Geothermal Energy

  • It is an environmentally friendly energy source because it does not emit greenhouse gases.
  • It has no external dependence.
  • Fossil fuels are not needed for electricity generation.
  • It has high efficiency.
  • It has a low investment cost.

Disadvantages of Geothermal Energy

  • Because geothermal plants must be built where geothermal energy is available, some locations will be unable to benefit from this resource.
  • Exposure to harmful chemicals can occur in the process.
  • Preparation and research costs are high.
  • Liquid substances coming out of geothermal sources, often create pollution.
  • A large area is needed for installing drilling machines.
  • It triggers earthquakes.

Geothermal energy Geothermal plants StudySmarterGeothermal plants must be built where geothermal energy is available. Only certain locations have access to geothermal energy. Pixabay

Importance of Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy sources have many benefits which makes them a popular energy source where it is available. Geothermal energy is renewable, meaning that it is naturally replenishable on a human time scale. Geothermal energy is sustainable, meaning that it meets the needs of current generations of humans without impinging upon the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Geothermal energy also doesn't cause a huge amount of pollution or produce much carbon in its production, making it an environmentally friendly energy source.

Examples of Geothermal Energy

Some of the uses of geothermal energy are listed below:

  • Greenhouse Heating: In various countries of the world, vegetable growing, fruit growing, and floriculture are carried out by heating greenhouses with geothermal energy.
  • District Heating: District heating is more suitable in cold climates. Geothermal fluid located at a temperature above 40oC is used for heating buildings and cities with a centralized system, heating water.
  • Industrial use: There are many uses of geothermal energy in the industrial field. These include vegetable drying, grain and timber drying, paper and pulp processing, chemical decontamination, and wastewater treatment
  • To dry agricultural products
  • Thawing ice and snow: This is practiced mostly in Argentina, Iceland, Japan, Switzerland, and America.
  • Bathing and Swimming (Thermal Tourism): For thermal treatment centers, spa centers, and hot spring pools.

Geothermal energy Hot spring pools StudySmarterHere is an image of a hot spring pool. For thermal tourism, the use of geothermal energy is important. Pixabay

Geothermal Energy - Key takeaways

  • Geothermal energy can be defined as thermal energy captured throughout the Earth's formation and from the radioactive decay of materials about 5 billion years ago which is now stored below the Earth's crust.
  • Geothermal energy is considered to be a renewable resource since its source is the nearly limitless quantity of heat generated by the Earth's core.
  • The main geologic formations are hydrothermal vents, geopressured, hot and dry rock, and magma, which all allow for geothermal energy extraction.
  • It is advantageous since it is environmentally friendly and has a high-efficiency extraction process.
  • It can be disadvantageous in that it uses a large area of land to extract and can be expensive.
  • Uses of geothermal energy include greenhouse and district heating, industrial use, thawing ice and snow, and thermal tourism.

Frequently Asked Questions about Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy can be defined as thermal energy captured throughout the Earth's formation and from the radioactive decay of materials about 5 billion years ago which is now stored below the Earth's crust.

  • It is an environmentally friendly energy source because it does not emit greenhouse gases. 
  • It has no external dependence.
  • Fossil fuels are not needed for its electricity generation.
  • It has high efficiency.
  • It has a low investment cost

Geothermal energy sources have many benefits which makes them a popular energy source where it is available. Geothermal energy is renewable, meaning that it is naturally replenishable on a human time scale. Geothermal energy is sustainable, meaning that it meets the needs of current generations of humans without impinging upon the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Geothermal energy also doesn't cause a huge amount of pollution or produce much carbon in its production, making it an environmentally friendly energy source.

Final Geothermal Energy Quiz

Question

Where does geothermal energy originate?

Show answer

Answer

From the energy captured throughout the Earth's formation and from the radioactive decay of materials about 5 billion years ago. 

Show question

Question

Why is geothermal energy considered a renewable energy resource?

Show answer

Answer

Because its source is the nearly limitless quantity of heat generated by the Earth's core.  

Show question

Question

Which geologic formations enable geothermal energy extraction? 

Show answer

Answer

Hydrothermal phenomena, geopressured, hot and dry rock, and magma.

Show question

Question

Geothermal energy sources do not threaten the ozone layer. (True/False)

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

The carbon footprint of a geothermal power plant is high. 

 (True/False) 

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

Geothermal energy sources may trigger earthquakes.

 (True/False) 

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

Geothermal energy sources do not emit greenhouse gases.

 (True/False) 

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

Why is geothermal energy sustainable?

Show answer

Answer

Because even if geothermal areas rely on a hot water reservoir, the volume extracted can be reinjected.  

Show question

Question

What are some of the uses of geothermal energy?

Show answer

Answer

Greenhouse and district heating, industrial use, thawing ice and snow, and thermal tourism. 

Show question

Question

A large area is needed for installing drilling machines. (True/False)

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

Preparation and research costs are low. (True/False)

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

Fossil fuels are needed for electricity generation with geothermal energy sources. (True/False)

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

Liquid substances coming out of geothermal sources, often create pollution. (True/False)

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

Earth's surface temperature is determined by heat flowing from its core. (True/False)


Show answer

Answer

False. 

Since the rate of energy emerging from the Sun is 5000 times faster than the rate of heat flow through Earth's crust, Earth's surface temperature is determined by energy from the Sun rather than heat flowing from its core. 

Show question

Question

For thawing ice and snow, geothermal energy sources are used mostly in Argentina, Iceland, Japan, Switzerland, and America. 

(True/False)

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

60%

of the users don't pass the Geothermal Energy quiz! Will you pass the quiz?

Start Quiz

Discover the right content for your subjects

No need to cheat if you have everything you need to succeed! Packed into one app!

Study Plan

Be perfectly prepared on time with an individual plan.

Quizzes

Test your knowledge with gamified quizzes.

Flashcards

Create and find flashcards in record time.

Notes

Create beautiful notes faster than ever before.

Study Sets

Have all your study materials in one place.

Documents

Upload unlimited documents and save them online.

Study Analytics

Identify your study strength and weaknesses.

Weekly Goals

Set individual study goals and earn points reaching them.

Smart Reminders

Stop procrastinating with our study reminders.

Rewards

Earn points, unlock badges and level up while studying.

Magic Marker

Create flashcards in notes completely automatically.

Smart Formatting

Create the most beautiful study materials using our templates.

Just Signed up?

Yes
No, I'll do it now

Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.