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What is Geothermal Energy and Introduction

Geothermal energy comes from the heat within the earth. The word "geothermal" comes from
the Greek words geo, meaning earth," and therme, meaning "heat." People around the world
use geothermal energy to produce electricity, to heat buildings and greenhouses, and for other

The earth's core lies almost 4,000 miles beneath the earth's surface. The double-layered core is
made up of very hot molten iron surrounding a solid iron center. Estimates of the temperature
of the core range from 5,000 to 11,000 degrees Fahrenheit (F). Heat is continuously produced
within the earth by the slow decay of radioactive particles that is natural in all rocks.

Figure 11_Depth of earth according temperature

Surrounding the earth's core is the mantle, thought to be partly rock and partly magma. The
mantle is about 1,800 miles thick. The outermost layer of the earth, the insulating crust, is not
one continuous sheet of rock, like the shell of an egg, but is broken into pieces11

called plates. These slabs of continents and ocean floor drift apart and push against each other
at the rate of about one inch per year in a process called continental drift.

Magma (molten rock) may come quite close to the surface where the crust has been thinned,
faulted, or fractured by plate tectonics. When this near-surface heat is transferred to water, a
usable form of geother- energy is created.

Geothermal energy is called a renewable energy source because the water is replenished by
rainfall, and the heat is continuously produced by the earth.

2. History of Geothermal Energy

 10,000 Years ago

History says that the first use of geothermal energy occurred more than 10,000 years ago in
North America by American Paleo-Indians. People used water from hot springs for cooking,
bathing and cleaning.

 Ancient Peoples

Many ancient peoples, including the Romans, Chinese, and Native Americans, used hot mineral
springs for bathing, cooking, and heating. Water from hot springs is now used world-wide in
spas, for heating buildings, and for agricultural and industrial uses. Many people believe hot
mineral springs have natural healing powers.

 1904

In the 20th century, demand for electricity led to the consideration of geothermal power as a
generating source. Prince Piero Ginori Contitested the first geothermal power generator on 4
July 1904 in Larderello, Italy. It successfully lit four light bulbs.[1] Later, in 1911, the world's first
commercial geothermal power station was built there. Experimental generators were built
in Beppu, Japan and the Geysers, California, in the 1920s, but Italy was the world's only
industrial producer of geothermal electricity until 1958.
Figure 22_ The first geothermal power plant


The first attempt to develop geothermal power in the United States came in 1922 at The
Geysers steam field in northern California. The project failed because the pipes and turbines of
the day could not stand up to the abrasion and corrosion of the particles and impurities that
were in the steam.

 1958

In 1958, New Zealand became the second major industrial producer of geothermal electricity
when its Wairakei station was commissioned. Wairakei was the first station to use flash steam

 1960

In 1960, Pacific Gas and Electric began operation of the first successful geothermal electric
power station in the United States at The Geysers in California.[3] The original turbine lasted for
more than 30 years and produced 11 MW net power.[4]

During the 1960’s, pacific gas and electric began operation of first large scale geothermal
power plant in San Francisco, producing 11 megawatts. Today there are more than 60
geothermal power plants operating in USA at 18 sites across the country.

 1973

In 1973, when oil crisis began many countries began looking for renewable energy sources and
by 1980’sgeothermal heat pumps (GHP) started gaining popularity in order to reduce heating
and cooling costs.

 2009

Geothermal power today supplies less than 1% of the world’s energy in 2009 needs but it is
expected to supply 10-20% of world’s energy requirement by 2050. Geothermal power plants
today are operating in about 20 countries which are actively visited by earthquakes and

3. How work geothermal power plant

3.1-Wells are drilled

A production well is drilled into a known geothermal reservoir. Typically, an injection well is also
drilled to return used geothermal fluids to the geothermal reservoir. Hot geothermal fluids flow
through pipes to a power plant for use in generating electricity.

3.2-Steam turns the turbine

Hot, pressurized geothermal fluid, or a secondary working fluid, is allowed to expand rapidly
and provide rotational or mechanical energy to turn the turbine blades on a shaft.

3.3-The turbine drives the electric generator

Rotational energy from the turning turbine shaft is used directly to spin magnets inside a large
coil and create electrical current. The turbine and generator are the primary pieces of
equipment used to convert geothermal energy to electrical energy.

3.4-Transmission - power lines deliver electricity

Electrical current from the generator is sent to a step-up transformer outside the power plant.
Voltage is increased in the transformer and electrical current is transmitted over power lines to
homes, buildings, and businesses.
Figure 33_ Geothermal power plant working process

3.5-Cooling tower
Cooling tower are used to convert hot water into cooled water. Than emits this water
again in depth of earth. Than this water again gain the heat and will heat up. Than this
water again coming up through injected wells.

3.6-Geothermal system

Figure 44_Working process of geothermal power plant according the earth depth

8:Porous sediments 9:Observation 1:Reservoir 2:Pump house 3:Heat exchanger 4:Turbine hall
5:Production well 6:Injection well 7:Hot water to district heating well 10:Crystalline bedrock

4.0 Power station types
Geothermal power stations are similar to other steam turbine thermal power stations – heat
from a fuel source (in geothermal's case, the earth's core) is used to heat water or another
working fluid. The working fluid is then used to turn a turbine of a generator, thereby producing
electricity. The fluid is then cooled and returned to the heat source.

4.1-Dry steam power stations

Dry steam stations are the simplest and oldest design. They directly use geothermal steam of
150 °C or greater to turn turbines.[5]

Figure 55 _Dry steam power station working process

4.2-Flash steam power stations
Flash steam stations pull deep, high-pressure hot water into lower-pressure tanks and use the
resulting flashed steam to drive turbines. They require fluid temperatures of at least 180 °C,
usually more. This is the most common type of station in operation today. Flash Steam plants
use geothermal reservoirs of water with temperatures greater than 360 °F (182). The hot water
flows up through wells in the ground under its own pressure. As it flows upward, the pressure
decreases and some of the hot water boils into steam. The steam is then separated from the
water and used to power a turbine/generator. Any leftover water and condensed steam may be
injected back into the reservoir, making this a potentially sustainable resource.[6] [7] At The
Geysers in California, twenty years of power production had depleted the groundwater and
operations were substantially reduced. To restore some of the former capacity, water injection
was developed.[8]

Figure 66 _Flash steam power plant working process
4.3-Binary cycle power station
Binary cycle power stations are the most recent development, and can accept fluid
temperatures as low as 57 °C.[9] The moderately hot geothermal water is passed by a secondary
fluid with a much lower boiling point than water. This causes the secondary fluid to flash
vaporize, which then drives the turbines. This is the most common type of geothermal
electricity station being constructed today.[10] Both Organic Rankine and Kalina cycles are
used. The thermal efficiency of this type station is typically about 10–13%.

Figure 77_ Binary cycle power plant working process

4.4-Hybrid Power Plants

In these plants, binary and flash techniques are utilized simultaneously.fig6 shown below the
process of hybrid power plan.This power plant used rarely in the world for producing the
geothermal electric energy

Figure 88_ Hybrid power plant working process

Geothermal power plants are used starting from 1970. In 1970 single flash power plant was
firstly this way all power plants are used sequencely as shown in fig8

Figure 99_Capacity of installed power plants

5.0 Geothermal Energy Advantages

5.1-Environmentally friendly

There are a few polluting aspects to harnessing geothermal energy, and the carbon footprint of
a geothermal power plant is seen as minimal. An average geothermal power plant releases the
equivalent of 122 kg CO2 for every megawatt-hour (mwh) of electricity it generates – one-
eighth of the CO2 emissions associated with typical coal power plants.

5.2-A renewable resource

Geothermal reservoirs are naturally replenished. According to some scientists, the energy in
our geothermal reservoirs will last billions of years. While fossil fuels have an expiry date,
renewable sources like geothermal energy is not going to expire anytime soon.

5.3-Potential capacity

Estimates for the potential of geothermal power plants vary between 0.035 to 2 TW.

5.4-A stable resource

The power output of a geothermal plant can be accurately predicted. Not subject to the same
low-energy fluctuations as with solar or wind.

5.5-Great for Heating/Cooling

There is significant growth in the number of homeowners utilizing geothermal heating/cooling

over the last couple of years.

5.6-No fuel required

After installation, no mining or transportation activity is necessary.

5.7-Small land footprint

Smallest land footprint of any major power source.

5.8-Stable resource

Can provide base load or peak power.

5.9-Economic factors

Cost-competitive in some areas.


Some level of geothermal energy available most places.

Geothermal energy is extracted from earth’s core and will be available as long as earth exists. It
is therefore renewable and can be used for roughly another 4-5 billion years.
5.12-Abundant Supply

With geothermal energy, there are no shortages or other sorts of problems which sometimes
occur with other types of power.

5.13-Significant Savings for Home Owners

There has been a tremendous increase in the number of homeowners who want to utilize
geothermal energy for heating and cooling purposes. The result is that less energy is used for
heating homes and offices which results in significant savings for home owners. After the initial
expense, a 30-60% savings on heating and 25-50% savings on cooling can cover that cost within
few years.

6.0 Geothermal Energy Disadvantages

6.1-Potential emissions

Greenhouse gas below Earth’s surface can potentially migrate to the surface and into the
atmosphere. Such emissions tend to be higher near geothermal power plants, which are
associated with sulfur dioxide and silica emissions. Also, and the reservoirs can contain traces of
toxic heavy metals including mercury, arsenic and boron.

6.2-Surface Instability

Construction of geothermal power plants can affect the stability of land. In January 1997, the
construction of a geothermal power plant in Switzerland triggered an earthquake with a
magnitude of 3.4 on the Richter scale.

6.3-High cost for electricity

Total costs usually end up somewhere between $2 – 7 million for a 1 MW geothermal power

6.4-High up-front costs for heating and cooling systems

While there is a predictable ROI, it will not happen quickly.For an average sized home,
installation of geothermal heat pumps costs between $10,000 – $20,000 which can pay off itself
in another 5-10 years down the line
6.5-Location Specific

Good geothermal reservoirs are hard to come by. Iceland and Philippines meet nearly one-third
of their electricity demand with geothermal energy. Prime sites are often far from population

6.6-Distribution costs

If geothermal energy is transported long distances, cost can become prohibitive.

6.7-Sustainability questions

Some studies show that reservoirs can be depleted if the fluid is removed faster than
replaced. This is not an issue for residential geothermal heating and cooling, where geothermal
energy is being used differently than in geothermal power plants.

6.8-Cost of Powering the Pump

Geothermal heat pumps need a power source.

6.9-May Run Out of Steam

You have to be incredibly careful when you are trying to check everything that is related to
geothermal energy. Mind must be taken to watch the heat and not to abuse it, because if the
heat is not taken care of properly, it can cause a meltdown or other issues where the energy is
not properly distributed or used.

History of Geothermal Energy in Italy

Among the many distinctive features of Italy’s sustainable regions, Tuscany is geologically
blessed with access to geothermal energy. Uses for the geothermal reservoirs dates back to the
Romans who used the heat for their famous baths. Centuries later, in 1904, the area near
Larderello was used to demonstrate the first successful steam energy conversion using five
lightbulbs.1 Geothermal reservoirs must reach or exceed 180 degrees Celsius in order to be
useful for energy production.2 Today, Italy is the European leader in the field of geothermal
energy production, with a total installed capacity of 790 MWe, which is over 95% of all installed
capacity in the EU-27.3 Worldwide, Larderello’s production makes up 10% of all geothermal

Larderello History

Previously referred to as Valle del Diavolo (Devil's Valley), the Geothermal Plant at Larderello is
an important component of the Tuscan landscape. Although, it may not greatly contribute to
the region’s aesthetic beauty, Larderello served as an important engine for energy
development in Italy. Home of the first geothermal plant in the world, the plant had to be
rebuilt after it was destroyed in World War II. Overall, the Larderello plant has produced
geothermal energy for over 90 years.


Larderello is an important attraction for both its historical and educational features. Located 40
miles south of Volterra

Power capacity

The power capacity of larderello power plant is 562.5 MW

1- Tiwari, G. N.; Ghosal, M. K. Renewable Energy Resources: Basic Principles and
Applications. Alpha Science Int'l Ltd., 2005 ISBN 1-84265-125-0

2-IPENZ Engineering Heritage. Retrieved 13 December 2013.

3-^ Jump up to:a b Lund, J. (September 2004), "100 Years of Geothermal Power
Production" (PDF),Geo-Heat Centre Quarterly Bulletin, Klamath Falls, Oregon: Oregon
Institute of Technology, 25 (3), pp. 11–19, ISSN 0276-1084, retrieved 13 April 2009

4-Jump up^ mclarty, Lynn; Reed, Marshall J. (October 1992), "The U.S. Geothermal
Industry: Three Decades of Growth" (PDF), Energy Sources, Part A: Recovery,
Utilization, and Environmental Effects, London: Taylor & Francis, 14 (4): 443–

5-Fridleifsson,, Ingvar B.; Bertani, Ruggero; Huenges, Ernst; Lund, John W.;
Ragnarsson, Arni; Rybach, Ladislaus (11 February 2008), O. Hohmeyer and T. Trittin,
ed., The possible role and contribution of geothermal energy to the mitigation of climate
change (PDF), Luebeck, Germany, pp. 59–80, retrieved 6 April 2009

6-US DOE EERE Hydrothermal Power Systems. (22 February 2012).
Retrieved 2013-12-13.

7-Jump up^ National Geographic Society. 1996 2014. Geothermal Energy Information,
Geothermal Power Facts - National Geographic. [accessed 2014 Nov 28].

9-US DOE EERE Hydrothermal Power Systems. (22 February 2012).
Retrieved 2013-12-13.

10- "Geothermal Basics Overview". Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
Retrieved 1 October 2008.