There are lots of forms of alternative energy that aim to prevent us from using up the precious natural resources that are fossil fuels.
These can be used around the home for individuals or for commercial and industrial purposes, and usually have the added benefit of cutting energy costs too.
Learning about these alternative power sources then gives us a way to end our dependency on this old-fashioned fuel and helps us to be more eco-conscious as well as more eco-nomical.
We’ve all heard of solar energy and of tidal energy… but what about geothermal energy?
The nature of geothermal energy can largely be discerned from its name.
‘Geo’ meaning ‘earth’ or ‘ground’ (such as in ‘geography’ or ‘National Geographic’) and ‘thermal’ meaning heat (as in ‘thermal optics’ or ‘thermostat’).
In other words then this is energy obtained from the heat of the Earth that lies deep under ground.
In a way geothermal energy is actually just another form of solar energy.
This is because the sun gradually heats up the planet and that’s what gives it its warmth.
Now touching the ground won’t feel warm because that’s being blown on by the wind and rained on all the time causing it to cool off.
However deep within the Earth this heat is obtained much longer and is warmed by the sun as quickly as it cools off meaning that it maintains a warm temperature.
Geothermal energy then plunders this energy… but how?
Well essentially geothermal energy works a little like a boiler – except here rather than using gas or electricity to boil the water, it is simply subjected to the heat underground.
The water is merely channeled through a series of pipes that are placed in a network deep underground and this then proves to be enough to warm that water up as it flows.
Eventually that water is then channeled to where it is needed such as into a radiator or into a heater and as it retains the heat from underground this then warms the room or object.
This then means that once you have the pipes in place it will cost you barely anything in order to heat your rooms (geothermal energy is often also used to heat swimming pools) – simply costing you the amount it costs to pump that water around through the pipes.
Meanwhile unlike solar energy there is no chance of that power source being cut off if a dark cloud comes past.
There are some downsides though and this is not a solution that is available to everyone.
The first drawback of geothermal power is that it requires you to have a large area of land.
Those pipes need to be spread out across a very large area in order to collect enough heat and that means that this is a solution only really available to those who have enough land available.
At the same time although it is completely free to use once it’s been installed it will cost you some time and effort to dig up the land and set up the piping initially.
However, for those who do have the means to utilize geothermal energy this is an investment that is truly worth making.