Now that we’ve got the basics of geothermal covered, here are 10 hot facts about this highly sustainable and super clean energy source.
1) The word “Geothermal” comes from the Greek words geo (earth) and thermos (heat). So simply put, geothermal means earth heat.
2) Geothermal isn’t a new technology. In fact, geothermal systems have been around for centuries. In the first century AD, the Romans conquered Aquae Sulis, (now Bath, Somerset, England) and they used the hot springs there to feed public baths and underfloor heating. The admission fees for these baths represent the first commercial use of geothermal power.
3) Paleo-Indians used hot springs for cooking, refuge and respite. Hot springs were also neutral zones where members of warring nations would bathe together in peace.
4) The world’s first geothermal power plant was constructed in 1904 in Larderello, Italy, and it still continues to generate power to this day!
5) Perhaps the most well know geothermal system is Yellowstone National Park in the United States. The geothermal features there are estimated at 10,000 and 200 to 250 geysers erupt in Yellowstone each year. Old faithful, the largest geyser at Yellowstone, can shoot 14,000 to 32,000 L of boiling water to a height of 106 to 185 feet (32 to 56 m) lasting from 1.5 to 5 minutes. The average height of an eruption is 145 feet (44 m).
6) Scientific America recently explored the theory that life may have also evolved in geothermal pools like those at Yellowstone and other geologic hot spots.
7) The heat that is used for geothermal energy is stored 4,000 miles within the Earth’s core and its temperature may reach over 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5000 degrees Celsius). That’s 60 times hotter than that of boiling hot water!
8) Even though geothermal is technically a finite resource, the typical lifetime for geothermal activity can range from 5,000 years to 1,000,000 years therefore, it’s considered a renewable resource.
9) Retail chains like IKEA are also embracing geothermal energy in order to cut down their costs and reduce their carbon footprint. The Denver IKEA store is the first IKEA store in the United States to be built with geothermal technology and IKEA Richmond, Canada’s newest store, will feature a geothermal installation to make the store more energy efficient.
10) Tech giant Google is also getting in on the geothermal game too. The company funded research at Southern Methodist University to explore how they can tap into its power using today’s technology. Check out what they discovered by going here!