Geothermal Energy Production
Harnessing the Thermal Energy of the Earth
How Does it Work?
- High start up cost of a power plant
- Geothermal reservoirs can only be found in select areas
Integration into Schools
Can geothermal power plants be installed to provide energy for schools?
No, the extremely high cost of building one does not justify it if it will only be used to provide energy for several schools, nor is there likely to be a geothermal reservoir within close proximity of a given school.
Geothermal closed-loop heat pumps
How a Closed-Loop System Works
- The ground absorbs nearly half (47%) of the sun’s energy that strikes the Earth
- Water is circulated through an underground coil system
- The heat of the soil is used to raise the temperature of the water in the pipe
- A heat pump removes the heat from the water and delivers it to the air (heating process)
- For cooling, the process is reversed – the heat pump removes excess heat from the air and delivers this energy to the ground
Practicality/Cost of Closed-Loop Heat Pump
- Highly reliable – the temperature a few meters below the Earth’s surface is constant year-round
- Versatility - Can act as both a heating and cooling system and will work in any temperature and for any building at any time of year
- Requires very little maintainence and is quite durable
- On average, geothermal energy systems cut energy costs between 50-70% vs. conventional heating/cooling systems
- Average cost for residential heat pump system: $20,000 - $40,000
- Average payback time for residential heat pump: 2-3 years
- Capacity factor (percent efficiency) ranges from 86-95% - significantly higher compared to other less reliable sources of energy