Geothermal Energy is created and stored inside the Earth.
The Geothermal Energy stored inside our Earth, was produced when our planet was formed millions of years ago and from the decay of minerals.
The core of the Earth is extremely hot. Hotter than you could ever imagine, sometimes reaching more than 4000 degrees Celsius! The heat from the core travels to the surface of the Earth.
The word 'geothermal' comes from Greek words: Geo means Earth and Thermal (Thermos) means heat. You will have heard the word 'thermal' many times as it's often used in reference to heat and insulating heat e.g. thermal gloves or a thermal flask which are devices that store heat similar to the geothermal energy of planet Earth.
Geothermal Energy from the Earth can be used in many ways in pumping systems and power stations where the energy can be converted to electricity.
One of the heat sources from the Earth is mineral water which can be heated by geothermal energy. For centuries, people have bathed in natural hot water springs.
Hot water can be run from geothermal power plants. When the water runs underground, it can help to melt ice away. This is particularly useful in countries such as Iceland.
Geothermal Energy has many benefits over many other types of energy and fossil fuels. This is a clean type of energy which doesn't pump harmful chemicals into our atmosphere when it is processed into electricity.
Although geothermal energy is not used as much as it could be, the future is looking brighter as it is being used more and more across the world. The more geothermal energy we can use, the less use of fossil fuels there will be. Fossil fuels can damage our planet as they are rich in carbon and release harmful chemicals when they are burned.
Geothermal Energy is reliable as it is constantly produced. Not all energies are the same, some are inconsistent such as solar power which relies on the sun. During night hours or poor weather conditions, solar energy cannot be received in all places on Earth.
Geothermal is a renewable energy source unlike many other types of energy. Renewable means it can be replenished and it isn't going to run out.
Electricity can be generated from geothermal energy at different types of power plants including binary cycle, dry steam and flash steam power plants.
Flash steam power plants usually function through the use of turbines to generate electricity. This type of power plant uses hot water from the ground which produces steam when it is released from the reservoir to the power plant. Steam is produced due to a decrease in temperature and it is used to power the turbine.
The oldest type of geothermal power plant runs on dry steam. It uses steam without water droplets (the molecules are in gas state not liquid).
Binary cycle power plants, like flash steam power plants, also uses steam from water to power turbines in order to generate electricity. However, the water is not as hot as the water used in flash steam power plants.