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Geothermal Energy


Geothermal Energy:

Is the thermal energy contained in the under earth. Deep water deposits trapped in superheated rock beds superheat the water on it. Some times due to the extraordinary pressure and heat the water is expelled through crust fractures as geysers or steam vents.

Normally the geothermal water banks are at 0.3 to 3 kilometers deep and can vary from small to large suitable for the installation of geothermal plants. Other uses of the Geothermal Energy is for residential and industrial heating.


How a Geothermal Plant Works:?

The most  potentially productive geothermal field or banks are normally located near or on a volcanic

Zone, such as in Indonesia. To  locate a geothermal well a prospecting technic almost identical to oil prospecting is used, in some cases the drilling search for oil has led to the finding of  a geothermal bank as it was the case for the geothermal field discovered in Cerro Prieto Baja California Mexico one of the largest geothermal plants in the world.


The diagram illustrates very well how a geothermal plant works, once a tube has been inserted all the way down to the hot water bank, the water and steam are pulled out by the high pressure and temperature, to separate the hot water from the hot steam a separation tank is used as shown. The steam from this separation tank is directed to move a turbine that is mechanically coupled to an electricity generator, in occasions part of the steam can be used for other applications such as for home heating or industrial uses, once the steam passes trough the turbines can be condensed back to water using a condenser that is nothing that a heat exchanger, where the steam is cooled down to convert it back  to water. A fundamental part of the steam condensing process is the cooling tower that keeps the condenser cool.


Be aware that the water from under grown is normally contaminated with sulphuric acid, arsenic and other harmful minerals that need to be removed from the water if it is pretended to be applied for industrial and agricultural uses. In many other instances the water is just fed back to ground without treatment  to the hot water banks, in some other occasions part of the water is fed back and part is treated depending on contamination levels and economics. If water is abundant in the area, could not make sense to invest in treatment systems, and a better option could be just send it back to ground. Initially  the cost of a geothermal plant can be expensive depending on the depth and characteristics of the geothermal bank. The operation is normally highly competitive and economical if it is well planed and administrated, although if not properly designed and maintained a geothermal plant could be an ecological nightmare. Done right a geothermal plant is a very good alternative energy option, for a detailed full page diagram on how a geothermal plant works  click here.




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Geothermal Electrical Production


Full Detailed Geothermal Plant Diagram-schematic