Recently, industries are now looking for more sustainable ways of generating electricity to sustain their production. One strategy is to shift to geothermal energy.
It is estimated that the earth’s core temperature is around 10,800 degrees Fahrenheit or 6000 degrees Celsius. This massive amount of thermal energy radiates from the Earth and translate to heated underground reservoirs and rocks. Tapping these sources can help generate electricity known to be geothermal energy. However, this kind of approach has many advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages Of Geothermal Energy
Using geothermal energy has numerous benefits. Most of them are anchored on the environmental aspect, especially when compared to other conventional sources of energy.
1. Geothermal energy is considered to be both sustainable and renewable. This kind of thermal resource will never run out as long as the planet is inhabitable. According to some scientists, the geothermal reservoirs’ energy can last for billions of years, unlike fossil fuels which have an expiry date.
2. This kind of energy source is reliable as well. Compared to other renewable sources such as biomass, wind, and solar, geothermal energy is not dependent on the presence of both the wind and the sun to generate it. Hence, geothermal energy is easily accessible all year long.
3. Using geothermal energy is also considered to be environmentally friendly, especially when compared to other alternative sources such as gas, oil, and coal. When extracted from the earth, there is no need to burn fossil fuels. Thus, the process does not release any emission.
Also, the carbon footprint produced by power plants using geothermal energy is minimal. For every megawatt-hour (MWh) of generated electricity, this type of power plant only emits an average of 122 kg of carbon dioxide on average.
4. Usually, power plants need at least 150 degrees Celsius or 300 degrees Fahrenheit of water temperature to be able to turn turbines effectively. With geothermal energy, you can attain this through the use of 25% to 50% less electricity.
Disadvantages Of Geothermal Energy
No matter how pleasant the mentioned statements above are, there are always two sides to the coin. Geothermal energy still has some drawbacks. Let us explore some of these disadvantages.
1. Geothermal energy has geographical limitations. To be able to extract this energy, your power plant location is crucial to making it work. Geothermal activity is most effective on land areas along tectonic fault lines. Countries like Iceland, the United States, Philippines, Mexico, and Indonesia are the most successful when generating electricity from this kind of energy.
2. Geothermal energy has a reputation for being an environmentally friendly energy source. However, it still has some minor environmental concerns. Greenhouse gases, such as methane, ammonia, boron, and hydrogen sulfide, are released when you extract geothermal energy from the ground. Despite this, the amount of gases from the process is still significantly lower compared to when you use fossil fuels.
3. If safety hazards are not well implemented in geothermal power plants, there is a tendency that the chemicals used for the extraction may pollute the water table. It can happen through any leakage.
4. Using geothermal energy has also been linked to seismic instability. Geothermal energy technologies have been said to have caused minor earth tremors. However, this has not been proven yet. Ongoing studies are still trying to find correlations between seismic activity and geothermal exploration.
When deciding whether your company will shift to geothermal energy, it is advantageous to consider all of the pros and cons mentioned above. The disadvantages can still be improved through more technological advancements and further research. With this, think about whether shifting to this kind of energy source is indeed worth the risk.