Geothermal energy, the natural energy of the Earth
The heat generated from the Earth's interior is an energy source with great potential that can greatly benefit areas such as electricity production or air conditioning.Geothermal energy is a primary energy source that harnesses the Earth's heat, and thanks to its sustainable characteristics, it could be key in steadily making headway in decarbonizing energy for the future. It is a renewable, clean, and inexhaustible alternative that needs to be promoted as it could offer great security to the energy market when times get as difficult as they are currently.
Many countries, including ours, have great geothermal capacity in their soil, just waiting to be exploited. It is essential to encourage its use at all levels, both in air conditioning and electricity supply. Even more so, bearing in mind all the advantages it could bring in the short term, in terms of efficiency and emissions reduction.
What is geothermal energy?
Geothermal energy is the use of heat energy that emanates naturally from the Earth’s core.
To fully understand how this energy works, it is important to know that the Earth's interior is divided into different layers. The crust is the outer layer where all we all live, then there is the intermediate area called the mantle and, finally, the deepest area of the Earth is the core. This last layer is formed by minerals, mainly iron, and its main characteristic is that it is at a constant extreme temperature of around 6,000°C, similar to that of the sun.
The core’s high temperatures are transmitted residually upwards through the other layers, until they reach the crust. Here, in this outermost layer, and through a series of excavations of the subsoil at different depths, we can access the natural heat coming from the core and convert it into energy using technology.
Benefits of geothermal energy
The heat energy generated at the Earth's interior has a number of unique characteristics that make geothermal energy one of the most advantageous renewable primary sources.
Continuous production. It is an inexhaustible resource that is active 24 hours a day, all year round..
Highly stable. It does not depend on external factors such as the weather, unlike the sun and wind.
Low impact. Its installations have a low visual and noise impact and take up little space.
Extremely efficient. It is one of the cheapest renewable energies and with the most capacity for use.
Sustainable. Committing to this natural energy would help considerably in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
It has huge benefits for the energy transition, but which are relatively unknown to the general public, as pointed out by the president of RHC-ETIP (Geothermal Panel of the European Technology and Innovation Platform on Renewable Heating & Cooling), which has consequences when it comes to promoting its expansion.
Geothermal resources: types and uses
Taking into account temperature and enthalpy, the thermodynamic magnitude that measures the energy obtained from each reservoir, conventional geothermal energy can be divided into four different types: