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Generally, natural gas is stored during... (EnergyIndustry. Geothermal energy is a clean and inexpensive form of energy used by many countries around the world.� Although the technology used in tapping geothermal resources has only been available within the past few decades, other countries such as the United States are already lagging behind the rest of the world in tapping their geothermal resources.� The methods of extracting geothermal energy are both creative and interesting.� The methods use nature�s most abundant substance, water, to bring the energy from within the earth to the surface.� Most people know very little about the potential of this great form of energy because of the fairly recent birth of geothermal technology (less than one-hundred years ago) and continual development.� This �ground-breaking� form of energy�s mechanics has many effects on the community, and its potential indicates that it is over all the best form of energy available. ����������� Geothermal energy is the heat energy that is found beneath the earth�s crust in the mantle layer.� The earth is made up of four primary layers; the crust (6-40 miles), the mantle (1800miles), the outer core (1375 miles), and the inner core (1750 miles) (Grolier).� The molten interior contains an unimaginable amount of thermal energy.� The temperature of the mantle varies from 1,560 to 2,280 degrees Fahrenheit (Grolier).� The fact that the crust has varying thickness of 6 to 40 miles separates geothermally active areas from non-active ones.� The areas where the crust is thinnest are considered geothermally active because the magma or molten rock, of the mantle is so close to the surface.� Some geothermal energy finds its way up to the surface of these active areas through volcanoes, geysers, hot springs, and human consumption, but the overall temperature within the earth remains relatively constant.� Scientists have calculated that without a driving force the interior of the earth would have cooled and solidified millions of years ago.� These scientists attribute the longevity of the earth�s interior heat and molten state to the radioactive decay of Uranium �234-235�, which have half-lives [1] of 4.5 billion years and 710 million years respectively (Wehlage 10).� Geothermal energy therefore represents a potentially inexhaustible source of energy.� The difficulty lies in extracting the energy from beneath the earth�s crust.� ����������� There are two primary methods in which the earth�s natural heat can be extracted.� The method used depends on the existence and/or availability of ground water in the area where the magma is near the surface.� If there is an ample supply of ground water near the hot site, a well is dug to the ground water level.� The ground water circulates through minute cracks in the rocks at a temperature ranging from 300 to more than 700 degrees Fahrenheit but is not in the form of gas because of the extreme pressure (see illus. 1).

Pages: 277

Publisher: Springer; 2000 edition (August 31, 2000)

ISBN: 0792361865

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