The Incredible History of Geothermal Energy

9 Sep

Geothermal energy is energy generated by heat stored beneath the Earth’s surface and is often referred to as ‘Geothermal Power’. At present, geothermal energy provides less than 10% of the world’s energy, which is a shame considering it’s abundance and that it is clean and safe for the surrounding environment. Although, it is a very important energy source in volcanically active places such as New Zealand and Iceland.

Interestingly enough we humans have been utilising geothermal energy in places like North America for more than 10,000 years. Archaeological evidence establishes that the beginning of man’s application of geothermal energy was by the Paleo-American Indians who used thermal springs for cooking. The first people to live in North America came from Asia at least 14,000 years ago. They arrived near the end of the Pleistocene epoch, which is also known as the Ice Age which as you can imagine, geothermal energy would be very useful. Archaeologists believe the first Americans crossed into North America when it was connected to Asia by land. The natural geothermal energy springs performed as a lake of geothermal energy for heat and purifying, using their minerals as a source of therapeutic healing. Native Americans have a history with every major thermal spring in the USA.

The very first geothermal energy facility was built in Italy. The first documented attempt was the use of a natural geyser in the earth’s core to generate electricity with the liquid drawn out. At first, scientists wanted to use volcanic material because they had seen the destruction it caused during eruption. After attempts by several individuals to heat their own homes with heat from earth materials, Prince Piero Ginori Conti built a prototype generator that successfully provided enough wattage to light 4 separate light bulbs. This became the brain child project that began the serious exploration of geothermal energy production as we know it today.

One of the main advantages of using geothermal energy is the lack of pollution. Being a renewable source of energy, geothermal energy has helped in reducing global warming and pollution. Moreover, geothermal systems do not create any pollution as it releases some gases from deep within the earth which are not very harmful to the environment. Also, local governments in various countries are investing hugely in the creation of geothermal energy. This is brilliant as it’s a major player when it comes to the job market.

Although there is a huge problem with geothermal energy as it’s only suitable for regions which have hot rocks below the earth and can produce steam over a long period of time. For this, intensive research is required which is done by the companies before setting up the plant and is very costly. Some of these regions are near hilly areas or high up in mountains.

Technologies are being created that will allow us to examine areas more than ten miles beneath the Earth’s surface for pursuing geothermal energy, which is pretty marvellous if you ask us.

Krafla_geothermal_power_station_wiki

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