What is Geothermal Energy and How Does it Work?

Geothermal energy is the thermal energy generated and stored in the earth. It is the thermal energy generated from radioactive decay and continuous heat loss from the earth’s formation. The geothermal energy of the earth is more than adequate to supply humanity’s energy needs but only a small fraction can be exploited profitably.

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What are the 3 Advantages of Geothermal Energy?

The advantages associated with Geothermal energy are given below.

  1. It is environmentally friendly, does not cause any pollution.
  2. Small footprint on the land, can be partially built ground.
  3. It is a renewable source of energy.

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What are the 3 Disadvantages of Geothermal Energy?

The disadvantages associated with geothermal energy is given below

  1. Geothermal power plants can cause earthquakes
  2. Costs incurred for establishing geothermal power plants are prohibitively very high.
  3. Geothermal reservoirs are very location-specific.

Which are the Natural Examples of Geothermal energy?

The natural examples of geothermal energy are given below.

  1. Geysers
  2. Lava Fountain
  3. Hot Springs

Geothermal Energy in India

In India, exploration and study of geothermal fields started in 1970. The GSI (Geological Survey of India) has identified 350 geothermal energy locations in the country. The most promising of these is in the Puga valley of Ladakh. The estimated potential for geothermal energy in India is about 10000 MW.

The major sites for geothermal energy in India are:

  • Himalayas: J&K, HP and Sikkim; PUGA hot spring in J&K and Manikaran in HP.
  • Sohana: Haryana, Rajasthan.
  • Son-Narmada-Tapi (SONATA): MP, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand; Tattapani spring in Chhattisgarh.
  • Cambay: Mainly Gujarat and some parts of Rajasthan
  • Godavari: AP
  • Mahanadi: Orissa, Taptapani Spring in Orissa.

How is geothermal energy produced?

  1. To produce the geothermally generated electricity, wells, 1.6 kilometers deep or more holes are drilled into underground reservoirs.
  2. These wells tap steam and hot water to drive the turbines. The turbines are in turn linked to electricity generators.
  3. Geothermal electricity production was done in Larderello Italy in 1904.

Government Initiatives 

  • For Industrial Projects, the government has planned to provide a capital subsidy of up to 30%.
  • First Geothermal power plant to come in Chhattisgarh by joint cooperation of NTPC and Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA). Tattapani geothermal field in SONATA geothermal province.
  • Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) provides large incentives and subsidies for Research, Design, Development and Demonstration (RDD&D) for harnessing geothermal energy in India.
  • Ministry of renewable energy has planned to generate geothermal energy up to 1000 MW by 2022.
  • As per the Geological Survey of India (GSI), 10000 MW geothermal potential has been identified in India.

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Benefits of Geothermal Energy

  • It is a clean fuel as compared to fossil fuel such as oil, gas, or coal. A geothermal field emits only 1/6th CO2 as compared to any clean natural gas-fired power plant. Binary plants are further less polluter among all geothermal power plants.
  • Ground Source Heat Pumps can be a good source of saving money for consumers by reducing electricity bills as it includes only capital cost and maintenance cost is very less.
  • The capital cost of the geothermal power plants is very high but the average units produced per year is very high as compared to other renewable energy resources such as solar, hydro, wind, etc.
  • Reinjection/Recycle of Ground Water: Salts and dissolved minerals contained in geothermal fluids are usually re-injected with excess water back into the reservoir at a depth well below groundwater aquifers. This system prolongs the life of the reservoir as it recycles the treated wastewater.
  • Geothermal Energy (Other than Power) can also be applied in Cold Storage, Tourist Resorts and pools, Melting snow, Poultry & Fish Farming, Mushroom Farming, Horticulture, Greenhouses, Aquaculture, Industrial processes, Space heating, etc.

FAQ about Geomorphic Process

What are examples of geomorphic processes?

Running water, groundwater, glaciers, the wind, waves, and currents, etc., can be called geomorphic agents.

What is Geomorphology?

Geomorphology is the study of landforms, their processes, form and sediments at the surface of the Earth. The Study includes looking at landscapes to work out how the earth surface processes, such as air, water and ice, can mould the landscape.

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