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Watt's That? Geothermal Energy

Ever wonder where some of our power comes from? Dive into 'Watt’s That?' and learn about the natural heat deep inside our planet – geothermal energy. See how this Earth’s warmth turns into electricity for our homes.

Understanding Geothermal Energy

Did you know that the heat generated within the Earth can be harvested for human use? It is one of the most efficient renewable resources. Geothermal Energy is the heat produced deep in the Earth’s core. “Geo” means earth and “thermal” means heat in Greek. This clean energy source can be exploited for use as heat and electricity.

Why is the Earth Warm Inside?

Our planet has been retaining a deep-seated warmth for billions of years, ever since its formation. This heat is further replenished by ongoing natural processes involving radioactive isotopes.

Radioactive isotopes are versions of elements that have an unstable nucleus (the core of an atom). Because the nucleus is unstable, it breaks down or "decays" over time. When it decays, it releases energy in the form of heat. The Earth's heat is not just from its original formation but is continuously renewed because of these radioactive isotopes decaying deep within, giving off warmth.

Watt's That? Geothermal Energy

Using Earth's Hidden Heat

Many countries have developed methods of tapping into geothermal energy. Various sources of energy are accessible in different regions of the planet.

Geothermal heat can be accessed almost anywhere in the world and used immediately as a source of heat. This heat is so called low-temperature geothermal energy – obtained from pockets of heat about 150°. These are found just a few meters below the ground.

 

Low-temperature geothermal energy can be used for heating greenhouses, homes, fisheries, and industrial processes. It is most used for heating, though it can sometimes be used to produce electricity. Geothermal power plants rely on steam that exists a few kilometres below the surface of the Earth to obtain enough energy to generate electricity.

 

Some areas possess the natural heat that exists underground as pocket steam or hot water. Yet, most areas need to be “enhanced” with injected water to obtain steam.

Watt's That? Geothermal Energy

Powering Our Homes with Geothermal Energy

When we think of electricity, geothermal might not be the first source that comes to mind. However, it plays a crucial role. By diving deep into the Earth, we can extract substantial heat for electricity generation. This energy, in turn, is injected into our power grids, supplying homes and businesses. The next time you switch on a light or charge your device, consider the possibility: the Earth's own heat could be lighting up your life!