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- What is Geothermal?
- Why Geothermal?
- Climate Change
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Geothermal energy is a natural form of renewable energy generated from the heat of the earth’s core. Through conduction, heat from the earth’s core continuously travels through the earth’s layers, warming rocks, water reservoirs and aquifers. Geothermal energy is generated by drilling into the natural geothermal reservoirs, and pumping hot water to the surface. The heat is then transferred to heat exchangers in the surface heating plant and water is recycled back down into the ground via a second bore hole.
Geothermal energy can be used for electricity production, for commercial, industrial and residential heating purposes, or for home heating and cooling through geothermal heat pumps. GT Energy focuses on the supply of renewable heat to UK communities.
Yes. As the heat arising from the earth’s molten core is essentially limitless an inexhaustible supply of energy can be ensured, which unlike fossil fuels, does not require geological times for generation. Modern geothermal plants produce no C02 emissions.
Yes. There has been a geothermal district heating scheme in operation in Southampton since the early 80s. Test drilling led by Newcastle University has also taken place. In Europe 327 similar geothermal district heating plants are in operation and there are 57 live sites in the city of Paris alone.
A significant benefit of geothermal energy and heat generation is that minimal land use is required during construction, with an area of only one or two acres necessary. The main visual impact during the construction phase is the presence of a drilling rig, but once a project is in the production phase the rig is not required and the energy centre footprint is very small. The visual impact will also be minimal as the permanent energy centre can be constructed sub terrain.
Noise from the normal operation of geothermal plants is very low and a variety of mitigation measures, including the use of sound attenuation screens, can be put in place to ensure local residents and businesses are not adversely impacted. During the drilling of the two bore holes, noise screens can also be installed. Very little spoil is generated during the drilling process and therefore the impact of construction traffic will be minimal.
Fracking is a method of extraction that is used to harvest shale gas and is unrelated to geothermal energy production. Fracking involves fluids consisting of water, sand and chemicals being injected at high pressure into rocks containing shale gas to create openings which allow the gas to be released. Geothermal energy is gained by pumping warm water out of reservoirs and passing it through a heat exchanger. It does not involve having to break into geographic formations in the same way that fracking does.