Renewable Energy: How Is Geothermal Energy Used?

Residential Ground Source Heat Pump System Ground source heat pumps use the ground as a heat exchange reservoir to efficiently supply space heating and cooling, and domestic hot water to homes and businesses. At shallow depths typically over five feet, the ground temperature is nearly constant, at 50° to 60°F. Heat pump systems with buried heat exchanger piping draw heat from the ground during the winter and reject heat to the ground during the summer.

Tilapia fingerlings raised using New Mexico geothermal energyDirect use of geothermal energy involves drilling a well into a geothermal reservoir to provide a steady stream of hot water. Piping, pumps, heat exchangers and controls deliver heat to residential and commercial buildings, greenhouses, fish farms, dairy operations, crop drying facilities, and other agricultural and industrial facilities.

Geothermal electricity production uses wells to tap medium to high temperature geothermal reservoirs at temperatures generally starting as low as 194°F. A power plant with heat exchangers, conventional steam turbines and generators produces electricity with virtually no carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions associated with the energy source.

 

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