Natalia Welzenbach-Marcu| February 6th, 2018
Jim Turner, an operating officer with Australia’s energy company Controlled Thermal Resources, wants more people to know about Geothermal Energy–an often unheard-of source of renewable energy using the Earth’s core heat as its main source.
10 feet or so beneath the Earth’s surface, the ground stays at a near-constant temperature of 50 – 60 degrees Fahrenheit. There are a few different ways to use this temperature to generate electricity; the most common method is to siphon water from just under the surface and create steam to power turbines. Some companies use the heat itself to create a “heat pump” that helps regulate the temperatures in buildings.
Most geothermal energy sites are located in the West of the United States–places with remote stretched of hot desert where the ground is easier to dig into.
The Earth at Western desert sites also satisfy three necessary conditions for ground to actually hold its heat and become a candidate for geothermal farming:it’s hot, wet rock, with enough space and fractures throughout that allow water to flow beneath the surface.
The nation’s Energy Department recently established FORGE, an effort to increase the number of geothermal sites in the United States. Geothermal energy is traditionally overlooked and underfunded, but with some combined effort this natural resource can help continue to reduce our carbon footprint.