Geothermal Energy

                 Unleash the Beast: Geothermal Energy

   Fossil fuels and nuclear power are hazardous to the environment, producing pollutants and other harmful by-products.

   One energy source that does not pollute the earth, however, is often overlooked, although its potential is great - the earth itself.

   The core of the earth is about 4000 degrees Celsius, and harnessing this power would create a heat source much more environmentally friendly than most of what is being done today.

    However, the research being done on geothermal energy is still at the elementary stage, and we have yet to truly benefit from what the earth's heat can do for us.

   The core of the earth is about 4000 miles deep and impossible for us to reach, as our equipment would melt even if it could drill that deeply.

   The layer surrounding the earth's core, called the mantle, is only about 45 miles deep, however, and so this is a much more attainable goal.  

   As of today, modern drilling machinery is not advanced enough to drill to this level, where temperatures reach about 375 degrees Celsius.

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   What we can do is drill about 3 miles deep, to a point where the heat from the earth is warm enough to boil water. By boiling water, we can create steam, which runs power plants that, in turn, create electricity.

  It is still very difficult to drill 3 miles into the earth crust. Luckily, we can take advantage of what are known as geothermal hot spots. A hotspot is a place on the earth where the mantle is not as thick and therefore extra heat is transferred to the earth's surface. Such hotspots are usually volcanic, or can be seen in natural features such as hot springs or geysers.

  By using the heat generated from these spots, a power plant can heat water and produce the steam it needs to create electricity. This is less wasteful than burning fossil fuels or using nuclear power, and the only by-product is cooled water, which can then be returned to the ecosystem once it has been purified.

  By using a hot spot, we also do not disrupt the environment by drilling, nor is there the expense associated with drilling. Although research still needs to be done to better harness the earth's geothermal energy, by unleashing some of her internal fury, we can create power that is less hazardous.

 Research steam-powered energy options in your community to find out if this method is right for your energy needs.

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