Geothermal energy is the heat energy within the earth. The steam and hot water within the earth’s surface can be used to heat buildings or to generate electricity. Geothermal energy is used by people around the world to heat their homes, produce electricity and to heat and cool buildings.
The main uses of geothermal energy are explained below.
1. Direct use of geothermal energy- Water from hot springs is used for bathing, cooking and heating. The direct use of geothermal energy has been happening since ancient times when people used hot mineral springs and hot water as a source of energy. Hot springs are mainly used for bathing and are believed to have natural healing powers.
2. District heating systems- Geothermal energy can be used for heating buildings by using district heating systems. In these systems, hot water from near the earth’s surface can be directly piped into buildings and industries for heat.
3. Geothermal power plants- Geothermal energy is used to generate electricity in geothermal power plants. Geothermal energy in the form of hot water or steam is used to run turbines which generate electricity in a geothermal plant.
4. Geothermal heat pumps- Geothermal heat pumps use the constant temperature of the earth to heat and cool buildings. They transfer heat from within the earth into buildings during winters and in summers, the process gets reversed.
Geothermal energy finds so many uses because it is an environmentally clean and cost effective source of energy. Also because it is a renewable source of energy, the use of geothermal energy is the best solution to a large number of problems.