Geothermal Essay

geothermal energy

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Geothermal energy is one of the oldest sources of energy. It is simply using and reusing (reusable energy) heat from the inside of the earth. Most of the geothermal energy comes from magma, molten or partially molten rock. Which is why most geothermal resources come from regions where there are active volcanoes. Hot springs, geysers, pools of boiling mud, and fumaroles are the most easily exploited sources. The ancient Romans used hot springs to heat baths and homes, and similar uses are still found in Iceland, Turkey, and Japan. The true source of geothermal energy is believed to come from radioactive decay occurring deep within the earth.
     Electricity is one of the biggest outputs of geothermal energy. It was first recorded to produce electricity in 1904 in Italy. There are now geothermal power plants in operation in New Zealand, Japan, Iceland, the US and elsewhere.
     For the generation of electricity, hot water, at temperatures ranging from about 700 degrees F, is brought from the underground reservoir to the surface through production wells, and is flashed to steam in special vessels by release of pressure. The steam is separated from the liquid and fed to a turbine engine, which turns a generator. In turn, the generator produces electricity. Spent geothermal fluid is injected back into peripheral parts of the reservoir to help maintain reservoir pressure. If the reservoir is to be used for direct-heat application, the geothermal water is usually fed to a heat exchanger before being injected back into the earth. Heated domestic water from the output side of the heat exchanger is used for home heating, greenhouse heating, vegetable drying and a wide variety of other uses.
Hot water and steam exist at many subsurface locations in the western U.S.
     These resources can be classified as low temperature (less than 194 degrees F), moderate temperature (194 – 302 degrees F), and also high temperature (greater than 302 degrees F). The uses to which these resources are applied are also influenced by temperature. If the reservoir is to be used for direct-heat application, the geothermal water is usually fed to a heat exchanger before being injected back into the earth. Heated domestic water from the output side of the heat exchanger is used for home heating, greenhouse heating, vegetable drying and a wide variety of other uses.
Hot water and steam exist at many subsurface locations in the western U.

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S. The highest temperature resources are generally used only for electric power generation. Current U.S. geothermal electric power generation totals approximately 2200 MW or about the same as four large nuclear power plants. Uses for low and moderate temperature resources can be divided into two categories: direct use and ground source heat pumps.
     Direct use, as the name implies, involves using the heat in the water directly. This is done without a heat pump or power plant. Direct use can be used for such things as heating buildings, industrial processes, greenhouses, aquaculture (growing of fish), and resorts. Direct use projects generally use resource temperatures between 100 – 300 degrees F. Current U.S. installed capacity of direct use systems totals 470 MW or enough to heat 40,000 average sized houses.
     Ground-source heat pumps use the earth or groundwater as a heat source in winter and a heat sink in summer. Using resource temperatures of 40-100 degrees F, the heat pump, a device that moves heat from one place to another, transfers heat from the soil to the house in winter and from the house to soil in summer. Accurate data is not available on the current number of these systems; however, the rate of installation is thought to be between 10,000 and 40,000 per year.
     Even though geothermal energy is a highly productive reusable energy source, is it not being taken advantage of nearly enough today. It ranks third on the reusable energy list behind hydroelectricity and biomass and ahead of solar and wind. Despite these impressive statistics, the current level of geothermal use pales in comparison to its potential. The key to wider geothermal use is greater public awareness, technical support, and more research and development to make geothermal energy easier to install and become a modern and widely use source of energy.

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Geothermal Energy

Matt Arnold
Physics 009
Professor Arns

The human population is currently using up its fossil fuel supplies at
staggering rates. Before long we will be forced to turn somewhere else for
energy. There are many possibilities such as hydroelectric energy, nuclear
energy, wind energy, solar energy and geothermal energy to name a few. Each one
of these choices has its pros and cons. Hydroelectric power tends to upset the
ecosystems in rivers and lakes. It affects the fish and wild life population.
Nuclear energy is a very controversial subject. Although it produces high
quantities of power with relative efficiency, it is very hard to dispose of the
waste. While wind and solar power have no waste products, they require enormous
amounts of land to produce any large amounts of energy. I believe that
geothermal energy may be an alternative source of energy in the future. There
are many things that we must take into consideration before geothermal energy
can be a possibility for a human resource. I will be discussing some of these
issues, questions, and problems.
In the beginning when the solar system was young, the earth was still
forming, things were very different. A great mass of elements swirled around a
dense core in the middle. As time went on the accumulation elements with
similar physical properties into hot bodies caused a slow formation of a
crystalline barrier around the denser core. Hot bodies consisting of iron were
attracted to the core with greater force because they were more dense. These
hot bodies sunk into and became part of the constantly growing core. Less dense
elements were pushed towards the surface and began to form the crust. The early
crust or crystalline barrier consisted of ultra basic, basic, calc-alkaline, and
granite. The early crust was very thin because the core was extremely hot. It
is estimated that the mantel e 200 to 300 degrees Celsius warmer than it is
today. As the core cooled through volcanism the crust became thicker and cooler.
The earth is made up of four basic layers, the inner solid core, the outer
liquid core, the mantel and the lithosphere and crust. The density of the
layers gets greater the closer to the center of the earth that one gets. The
inner core is approximately 16% of the planet's volume. It is made up of iron
and nickel compounds. Nobody knows for sure but the outer core is thought to
consist of sulfur, iron, phosphorus, carbon and nitrogen, and silicon. The
mantel is said to be made of metasilicate and perovskite. The continental crust
consists of igneous and sedimentary rocks. The oceanic crust consists of the
same with a substantial layer of sediments above the rock.
The crust covers the outer ridged layer of the earth called the
lithosphere. The lithosphere is divided into seven main continental plates.
These continental plates are constantly moving on a viscous base. The viscosity
of this base is a function of the temperature. The study of shifting
continental plates is called Plate Tectonics. Plate Tectonics allows scientists
to locate regions of geothermal heat emission. Shifting continental plates
cause weak spots or gaps between plates where geothermal heat is more likely to
seep through the crust. These gaps are called Subduction Zones. Heat emission
from subduction zones can take many forms, such as volcanoes, geysers and hot
springs. When lateral plate movement induced gaps occur between plates,
collisions occur between other plates. This results in partial plate
destruction. This causes mass amounts of heat to be produced due to frictional
forces and the rise of magma from the mantle through propagating lithosphere
fractures and thermal plumes sometimes resulting in volcanism. During plate
movement, continental plates are constantly being consumed and produced changing
plate boundaries. When collisions between plates occur, the crust is pushed up
sometimes forming ranges of mountains. This is the way that most Midoceanic
ranges were formed. Continental plates sometimes move at rates of several
centimeters per year. Currently the Atlantic ocean is growing and the Pacific
ocean is shrinking due to continental plate movement.
In Rome people first used geothermal resources to heat public bath
houses that were used for bathing or balneology. The mineral water was thought
to be therapeutic. The minerals in the water have been used since the beginning
of time. Through out the years geothermal heated water or steam has been used
in many different systems from heating houses and baths to being a source of
boric acids and salts. Today geothermal fluids provide energy for electricity
production and mechanical work. Boric acid is still extracted and sold. Other
byproducts of geothermal heated liquid are carbon dioxide, potassium salts, and
silica. The first 250 kilowatt geothermal power plant began operation in 1913 in
Italy. By 1923 the United States had drilled its first geothermal wells in
California. In 1925 Japan built a 1 kilowatt experimental power plant. The
first power plants constructed in Italy were destroyed in WWII, then rebuilt
bigger and more efficient. Mexico built a 3.5 megawatt unit in 1959. In the
United States an 11 megawatt system at the geysers in California was constructed
in 1960. Japan then installed a 22 megawatt plant in 1966. Geothermal energy
has been used for things other than energy production, such as geothermal space-
heating systems, horticulture, aquaculture, animal husbandry, soil heating and
the first industrial operation of paper mills in New Zealand. Large scale
geothermal space-heating systems were constructed in Iceland in 1930.
The word "geothermal," refers to the thermal energy of the planetary
interior and it is usually associated with the concept of systems in which there
is a large reservoir of heat to comprise energy sources. Geothermal systems
are classified and defined depending on their geological, hydrogelogical and
heat transfer characteristics. Most geothermal heat is trapped or stored in
rocks. A liquid or gas is usually required to transfer the heat from the rocks.
Heat is transferred in three different ways, convection, conduction, and
radiation. Conduction is the transfer of energy from one substance to another,
through a body that may be solid. Convection is the transfer of energy from one
substance to another through a working moving medium, such as water. The medium
usually transfers the energy in an upward direction. Radiation is the transfer
of energy out of a substance through the excitement of gas molecules surrounding
a substance. Radiation is dependent upon two things the object emitting the
heat and the surrounding's ability to absorb heat. Convective geothermal
systems are characterized by the natural circulation of a working fluid or water.
The heated water tends to rise and the cool to sink continually circulating
water throughout the ground. The majority of the heat transfer is done through
convection and conduction, radiation hardly ever effects heat flow. When
geothermal heated water collects into a reservoir one form of a geothermal
resource is created. One can approximate the amount of thermal energy present
in a geothermal resource by comparing the average heat content of the surface
rocks with the enthalpy of saturated steam. Enthalpy is energy in the form of
heat released during a specific reaction or the energy contained in a system
with certain volume under certain pressure. It is generally accepted that below
a depth of ten meters, the temperature of the ground increases one degree
Celsius for every thirty or forty meters. At a depth of ten meters annual
temperature changes no longer affect the temperature or the earth.
The most common geothermal resources used for the production of human
consumed energy are hydrothermal. Hydrothermal systems are characterized by
high permeability by liquids. There are two basic types of hydrothermal systems,
vapor and liquid dominated systems. In a liquid based system, pumps must be
placed very deep in the well where only the liquid phase is present. By keeping
the liquid under pressure it is possible to keep the liquid at a much higher
temperature than the liquid"s normal boiling point. If the liquid is not kept
under pressure, it will flash. Flashing is the process of vaporization. It
requires 540 calories per gram of heat to vaporize water. The super heated
pressurized water is pumped up a long shaft into the plant. When it reaches the
plant, controlled amounts of the pressurized water is allowed to flash or
vaporize. The rapidly expanding gas pushes or turns the turbine. A power plant
may have numerous flash cycles and turbines. The more flash cycles the higher
the efficiency of the power plant. Once the heated liquid has been used to the
point where it has cooled to an unusable temperature it is reinjected into the
ground in hopes that it will replenish the geothermal well. Vapor systems work
in much of the same way. The super heated gas flows through surface reboilers
that remove all of the non-condensable gases from the mixture of gases. The gas
is pumped into pressurization tanks where extreme pressure causes the gas to
condense. The super heated liquid is then allowed to flash. The rapidly
expanding gas turns the turbine. Specific examples and sites of electrical
energy production will be discussed later. Conductive geothermal systems consist
of heat being transferred through rocks and eventually being transmitted to the
surface. The amount of heat transferred in a conductive geothermal is
considerably less than the heat transferred in a convective system. Conductive
geothermal systems lack the water to efficiently transfer the heat, so water
must be artificially injected around the hot rocks. The heated water is then
pumped from the underground reservoir to the surface. This system is not as
effective as others because the temperature that the heated water reaches is not
very great. Geopressured geothermal systems are similar to hydrothermal
systems. The only difference is the pressure of the high temperature reservoir.
Geopressured geothermal systems may be associated with geysers. Some
geopressured geothermal systems reach pressures of fifty to one hundred
megapascals (MPa) at depths of several thousand meters. These systems provide
energy in the form of heat and water pressure making them more powerful and
useful. Currently most electricity producing geopressured geothermal systems
are only experimental. There are many factors in this type of system that are
very hard to predict such as the reservoirs potential energy. It is very hard
to predict the force at which the water will be projected from the well since
the pressure of the high temperature is constantly changing. The salinity of
the liquid projected is also very high. In some instances the liquid consists
of twenty to two hundred grams of impurities per liter.
Today with the depletion of many other natural resources using
geothermal resources in more important than ever. Hot springs are natural
devices that bring geothermal heated water to the surface of the earth. This
processes is very efficient, little heat is lost during the transportation of
the water to the surface. The heat is brought to the surface via water
circulation in either the liquid or gaseous form. Geothermal hot springs are a
good source of energy because it is probable that they will never be exhausted
as long as water is not pumped from the spring faster than it naturally
replenishes itself. A simplified version of a vapor run geothermal electric
plant might operate under the following conditions. Holes are drilled deep into
the ground and fitted with pipes that resist corrosion. When the hole is first
opened, steam escapes into the atmosphere. Once the pipes are inserted into the
holes the steam expansion becomes adiabatic. An adiabatic system is a system
in which there is little or no heat loss. Next the pipe is connected to the
central power station. No condensation takes place because the steam is
superheated. Many drill holes are connected to the central power station which
results in mass quantities of superheated water vapor pushing the turbine. The
more drill holes that are connected to the power station the greater the
pressure of the gas flowing through the turbine. The greater the pressure of
the gas the faster the turbine turns and the more electricity produced. In some
power plants the water vapor itself is not used to turn the turbines but only to
heat another purer substance. This method is less efficient but does not
corrode the machinery. Most superheated gas from geothermal resources is not
pure water but a mixture of gases. Some of these gases can be extremely
corrosive so using purer non-corrosive materials has its advantages. Some
common gases used are ethyl chloride, butane, propane, freon, ammonia. The
efficiency of these generators is limited by the second law of thermodynamics.
The second law of thermodynamics states that a thermal engine will do work when
heat entering the engine from a high temperature reservoir is at a different
temperature than the exhaust reservoir. The thermal engine must take heat from
the high temperature reservoir convert some of that heat to work and exhaust the
remaining heat into a low temperature reservoir. The difference between the
heat put into the engine and the heat deposited as waste energy is transformed
by the engine into mechanical work. The maximum possible efficiency of a heat
engine is called its Carnot efficiency. Carnot efficiency is never reached and
the actual efficiency is always lower than the Carnot efficiency. The greater
the difference in temperature between the superheated gas and the low
temperature exhaust reservoir the higher the efficiency of the power plant. The
average actual efficiency for a geothermal power plant ranges from the single
digits to about twenty percent. The average actual efficiency for a fossil fuel
burning electrical power plant is approximately thirty percent. While other
methods of electricity production may have slightly better efficiency than a
geothermal power plant, the less destructive environmental impacts of geothermal
power plants offset the importance of the a higher efficiency. Direct use of
geothermal heat for heating purposes can result in actual efficiencies of up to
ninety percent. Fossil fuel powered heat systems can generally only reach
actual efficiencies of seventy to eighty percent.
As well as being used for electricity, geothermal energy is currently
being used for space heating. Geothermal heated fluid used for space heating is
widespread in Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Hungary and the United States. In a
geothermal space heating system, electrically powered pumps push heated fluid
through pipes that circulate the fluid through out the structure. Geothermal
heated fluid is also being used to heat greenhouses, livestock barns, fish farm
ponds. Some industries use geothermal energy for distillation and dehydration.
Although there are many pluses to using geothermal energy there
are also some problems. It was generally assumed that geothermal resources were
infinite or they could never be completely depleted. In reality the exact
opposite is true. As water or steam is pumped out of the well the pressure may
decrease or the well may go dry. Although the pressure and fluid will
eventually return it may not do so fast enough to be useful. Drilling
geothermal wells is very expensive. It is generally figured that a geothermal
well should last 30 years in order to pay for itself. Another factor to take
into consideration is the disposal of the waste water. Some geothermal fluid
consists of several toxic materials such as arsenic, salt, dissolved silica
particles. These materials can pollute drinking water and lakes. When the
waste water is reinjected back into the earth the previously dissolved silica
particles precipitate out of the liquid and can block up the pores in the
reinjection well. The cool water can also create new passages through the rocks
and create unstable ground above. There are three main problems that can plague
a power plant when it is operated using geothermal energy, silting, scaling and
corrosion. Scaling is caused by silting or when suspended particles build up on
the insides of the pipes. Scaling is directly related to the pH of the liquid.
In some cases chemicals or other additives such as HCl have been added to the
liquid to try to neutralize the liquid. Silting is when the particles that were
dissolved in the hot fluid precipitate out when the fluid cools. This generally
occurs in the pipes and can cause considerable damage to the pipes if
significant pressure builds. This problem can be solved by using simple filters
that are periodically changed in the pipes. Corrosion occurs because of acidic
substances incorporated in the geothermal fluid. Usually geothermal fluid
contains some boric acid. Using pipes that are not affected by these liquid
generally takes care of corrosion. Unfortunately most metals that are non-
corrosive are very expensive. Most types of wildlife can not live in or consume
saline water. If the cooled fluid containing dissolved toxins and salt
contaminates lakes or streams the environmental effects can be disastrous. Air
pollution from geothermal resources is also significant. The most common type
of air pollution is the release of hydrogen sulfate gas into the air. At the
geysers in California an estimated 50 tons per day of hydrogen sulfite is
released into the atmosphere. Iron catalysts have been added to try to offset
the effects of pollution but have failed because moisture and carbon dioxide
reduce the efficiently of the catalysts so much that it is not effective. Noise
pollution is another consideration that must be taken into account. When the
steam and water escape from the system it makes a relatively loud noise. If the
wells are located near any residential areas it can raise problems and
discontentment within the community. Some geothermal power plants have
installed cylindrical towers where the water vapor and water is swirled around.
The friction created by the movement of the gas or fluid decreases the overall
kinetic energy of the gas or fluid causing the internal energy to decrease.
When the internal energy is decreased the noise of gas escaping is also
decreased. Geothermal resources do produce pollution but the pollution would
be there even if we did not exploit the resource. Other energy producing
systems used today produce and emit pollution that otherwise would not be
introduced into the environment. I feel that the benefits of using geothermal
resources as a source of energy for electricity and mechanical work production
out weigh the downfalls.
The world has many different geothermal regions that are exploited for
the production of electricity and other things. The United States is one of the
leaders in manufacturing geothermal produced electricity. One of the most
productive regions in the U.S. is the Pacific Region. Most geothermal regions
contain mostly heated water. Geysers produce very large amounts of water vapor
and other gases. Geysers have the potential to produce electricity relatively
efficiently. In 1979 The Geyser power plants had a rating of 600 megawatts of
electricity(MWe). Today they are rated for over 2000MWe. Most of the geysers
are located on the side of a mountain near Big Sulfur Creek, on the California
coast west of Sacramento. William Bell Elliott was the first to see this
natural wonder in 1947 while surveying, exploring and looking for grizzly bears.
The earth around the Geysers geothermal site consists of highly permeable
fractured shale"s and basalt"s created during Jurassic age. The ground above
the wells consists of graywake sandstone. This form of sand stone is very hard
to penetrated. Scientists believe that the large geothermal reservoir was
created when an earthquake caused fault and shear zones. Steam temperatures in
the geothermal wells range from 260 to 290 . Pressures deep in the wells range
from 450psig to 480psig (3.1MPa to 3.3) . Some wells are 3000 meters deep and
produce almost 175 tonnes of steam per hour.
It is thought that the center of the magma or the heat source at The
Geysers geothermal site lies under Mt. Hannah. Geologists are led to believe
that there is a large mass of magma cooling under the geysers and power plants
that is the source of all the heat. This assumption is proven when seismic
waves caused by earth quakes are slowed when they pass through the mountain. A
fairly large fractured steam reservoir rests above the cooling molten.
In 1967, the Union Oil Company in partnership with Magma Power
Corporation and Thermal Power Company began producing electricity from the
Geysers Geothermal region and selling it to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
The turbines in the power plant were designed to operate under intake pressures
of 80psig to 100psig. At first the plant operated at maximum efficiency but as
the years went by the geothermal resource was slowly depleted. The depleted
heat source did not produce the constant pressure that was required for maximum
efficiency so the efficiency decreased. There are two methods of drilling wells,
mud drilling and air drilling. Mud drilling tends to clog up the porous rock
but it is easier on the drilling machinery. Air drilling leaves the porous
rock free for water and steam flow but it is very hard on machinery due to
abrasion and heating. Air drilling is therefore very expensive. Geothermal
wells do not always maintain constant pressure. New wells must be drilled to
continually maintain constant pressure on the turbine. The system built at The
Geysers geothermal field delivers of super heated steam. The steam produced
by the wells is not pure water but consists of 1% non-condensable gases along
with dust particles. If not cleaned off, the dust can accumulate on the inside
of the turbine blade shrouds and cause turbine failure. This problem was
virtually eliminated when heavy duty blades and shrouds replaced the faulty ones.
It was thought that by the time the steam made it to the turbine very little of
it was still superheated, so special non-corrosive metal was not required in the
construction of the upper level piping and the turbine. Normal carbon piping
was used in the original construction. This proved not to be the case, after a
while the pipes began to corrode. As steam condenses non-condensable gases
become more of a problem. They become more concentrated, more corrosive and can
form sulfuric acid. This new problem was solved by replacing the carbon steel
used in the original construction with austenitic stainless steel. Electrical
connections and wires were also effected by concentrations of sulfuric acid.
They were replaced with aluminum and stainless steel.
The steam generated from the wells and geysers has a constant enthalpy
of 1200-1500 Btu per lb. The use of condensing steam turbines that exhausted
waste water below atmospheric pressure increased the efficiency of the plant.
There were no rivers or streams in the immediate area that were sufficiently
cool enough to be used as a cooling mechanism, so cooling towers were
constructed. Incorporating the cooling towers into the system allowed the waste
water to be discharged at a cooler temperature f 18 therefore increasing the
possible efficiency of the system. Carnot Efficiency of The Geysers Power Plant

Carnot Efficiency =
Carnot Efficiency =
Carnot Efficiency = .4831
This is a relatively efficient cycle. It certainly can compete with
other modern day types of electricity production. Unfortunately carnot
efficiencies can never be reached. A large amount of energy is lost in the
condensers and turbines. I feel that while the efficiency of this geothermal
power plant might not be overwhelmingly better than other modern day methods of
electricity, the lack of pollution makes up for the loss in efficiency. Even
though The Geysers power plant is relatively efficient, it does not even come
close to taking advantage of all the emitted heat. Only 2% of the emitted heat
from the source is used to heat water for electricity production. This
geothermal resource will not last for ever though. Heat Content of the Entire
Geysers Geothermal Site
-The Geysers geothermal site covers approximately . -Heat is only
recovered from the top 2km of the earth at The Geysers site.
-The average temperature in this top 2km of earth is 240 .
-The average air temp at The Geysers site is 15 . -The specific heat of
the permeable rock that makes up most of geothermal region is . Volume x
Specific Heat x Change in Temperature = Heat Content

Vol = x = SpHt=
= 240 - 18 = 222
Q =( x )( )( )(222 )
Q= Joules of Heat Content in the entire Geysers geothermal region

Life of The Geysers Heat Source -Power output of The Geysers plant =2000MW -
Fraction of the total heat used in the production of steam = 2%

-Power taken from the geothermal resource = 2,000MW/2% =

100,000 MW -Heat content of the entire Geysers geothermal region =
Joules -Seconds in one year = -1 Watt = 1 Joule/sec 100000MW = J/year

J/ J/year = 24.67years. According to my calculations The Geysers geothermal
resource will be depleted in 24.67 years at the current rate of usage. Of
course this is not taking into account the rate at which the resource is renewed
from heat coming from deeper in the earth. I am assuming that the rate of
depletion is so much greater than the rate of renewal that it is not significant
in the calculation.
The power plant at The Geysers site is run on dry superheated gases.
The power plant now has 11 generators and has a rating of over 2000 MWe. The
process of electrical power generation used at The Geysers power plant is
relatively simple when compared to other modern day power plants. The steam
that evolves from the wells flows through pipes that lead to the turbine. The
pressure exerted by the superheated steam turns the turbine which produces
electricity. The steam then flows into the direct-contact condensers below the
turbine. Cooling water from the cooling towers is constantly circulated through
the condensers. The condensed steam and cooling water is then pumped back into
the cooling towers. Because the evaporation rate from the towers is slower than
the rate at which water is pumped into the towers, excess amounts of water
accumulate in the cooling tower. This excess water is then pumped to
reinjection wells where it flows down through the soil and porous rock and is
reheated by the heat source. The cycle begins all over again. See the diagram

The costs of running this particular geothermal electrical plant are very
competitive with the cost of other types of modern day plants. The operation
costs for the plant at The Geysers is almost same the as the operation costs of
an average fossil fuel powered plant and much less than the operating costs of a
hydroelectric or nuclear plant. One of the greatest advantages of this and most
geothermal systems is the relative lack of pollution. While most coal plants
give off significant amounts of sulfur, somewhere around 93 tons per day for the
average coal plant, geothermal plants produce no gas pollution other than the
gases that would be naturally emitted from the geysers anyway. Coal plants are
by far the worst polluters but other types of plants are not far behind.

Average Cost of Geothermal Produced Energy per Kilowatt in the U.S. Total
electricity produced in the U.S. during 1985 = 652000MW Percent of Geothermal
energy contributed to total U.S. production 3%
3% x 652000MW = 19560MW Methods of geothermal energy production
Capital Dollars per Kilowatt
Dry Steam Flash 83% $1000/kW
Binary 17% $3600kW

Dry Steam Flash = 83% x 19560MW x 1000kW/MW x $1000/kW =

Binary = 17% x 19560MW x 1000kW/MW x $3600/kW =

Total = + total = per 19560MW
/1956MW x 1MW/1000kW = $1431.5 per kW
The future of geothermal energy looks very promising. There have been
many technological breakthroughs that have resulted in increased efficiencies of
modern day geothermal electrical plants. I feel that with the current
environmental situation that the world now faces a viable method of clean up
will include the use of geothermal power plants and resources. In a world that
is suffocating from the chemicals, and particulates that are created in the
production of electricity and other commercial industries, we have no choice but
to change our ways. The earth can not support the current rates of pollution.
If we do not change reduce pollution the effects that are beginning to be see
now will become irreversible. Using geothermal resources for other purposes such
as space heating can only help reduce pollution emission. With in the next
century the world will begin to feel the energy crunch. Supplies of other
natural resources such as coal, oil and other petroleum products will begin to
become scarce. The world today is completely electricity dependent. Without
electricity, the world as we know it would cease to exist. In the next century
we must learn to be less electricity dependent or find other sources of energy.
If less env


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