All city residents are accustomed to the fact that electricity and heat in their homes comes as something of themselves. Pay for them every month and the house will be bright, warm and delicious smell from the kitchen. But the thought of you someday, where all this energy come from? In large cities, as a rule, hydropower plants, thermal power plants and nuclear power plants. Today let’s talk about a few specific but very interesting method for the production of heat and light directly from the depths of our planet. To burn and have nothing.
Before talking about energy production, let us imagine distant from the major cities of the place. Not the village, in which the lives of 10 residents in 15 rickety houses, and just a small town. It is desirable that he was near the volcano. If you do, you now need to figure out how to deliver electricity and heating.
It is possible to build a thermal power plant and round the clock, burning natural resources, which cost a lot of money, spoil the environment and require at least a good road for shipping, and railway.
The second option will be a pricey nuclear power plant, which it holds clear risks and requires the work of specialists narrow profile. It’s also not a good option for small cities. But then what to choose and how to ensure people’s household goods?
What is Geothermal
Before to tell about the power plants, is to say that this is geothermal energy.
Geothermal energy is energy derived from the natural heat of the Earth.
To produce heat from the Earth requires drilling. At the same time, the deeper the hole, the more energy you can get. Geothermal gradient in the borehole increases on average by 1 °C every 36 meters. Heat is delivered to the surface in the form of steam or hot water, and it can be used both for electricity production and for heating. Due to the fact that the terminal regions have worldwide use this method of obtaining energy in many countries.
The most successful places to place such power plants are the joints of tectonic plates. It is in these areas the bark is thinner and easier to heat. Let me remind you, it is considered that the temperature in the center of the Earth is not below 6800 degrees. The closer to the center, the higher the temperature. Everything is logical.
In the simplest example of a Geothermal power station works by generating steam that turns a turbine to generate electricity, but due to the peculiarities of each particular option they are divided into several types.
Types Of Geothermal
The simplest type of Geothermal power station uses the so-called direct scheme. With her steam rises through the pipes and immediately spins the turbine. In the indirect scheme before you get to the pipe, the steam is purified from gases that cause accelerated destruction of the metal. If the removal of gases produced after water condensation, the scheme is considered to be mixed. But there is also the binary scheme that is most technologically advanced.
An example of such stations is a geothermal power station in Landau, Germany. It uses thermal water to deliver heat from the Earth, but then in the other liquid with low boiling point. She spins the turbine. Usually this is isopentane. This method allows you to place plants in places where there is no access to a heat source capable of directly give steam to the turbine. For their work enough water with temperature not more than 70 degrees.
The first geothermal power plant
We are all accustomed to the fact that many years ago the energy extracted from natural resources. So it was, that’s just before that, were among the first power plants were just geothermal. Overall this is a very logical, because the machinery was worked by steam-power, and to use steam was the right decision. And actually only for that time, not counting the burning of wood and coal.
In 1817, the count Francois de Larderel has developed a technology of collecting natural pair, which is very useful in the twentieth century, when the demand for geothermal power plants has become very high.
First really working the station was built in the Italian town of Larderello in 1904. However, it was more of a prototype, as it could feed only 4 bulbs, but it worked. Six years later, in 1910 in the same city, was built a real working station, which could produce sufficient energy for industrial use.
Experimental generators were built in many places, but it was Italy until 1958 held the lead and was the world’s only producer of geothermal energy in an industrial scale.
To give up the lead we had after New Zealand launched a power plant Wairakei. She was the first geothermal power plant the indirect type. After a few years, similar facilities have opened in other countries, including the USA with its source in California.
The first geothermal indirect type were built in the USSR in 1967. At this time, this method of producing energy began to develop around the world. Especially in places like Alaska, the Philippines and Indonesia, which are still among the leaders in such a way produced energy.
Efficiency of geothermal power plants
Actually, not to say that geothermal is very effective, as their efficiency is only 7-10 percent. It is very small in comparison with the objects to which the energy extracted from the combustion of fuel. That’s why you can’t just dig a hole, shove it in the pipe and go to rest. The system must be highly efficient and use a few cycles for greater performance, otherwise the received energy is not enough even to work the pumps used to deliver fluids to the surface.
The key success factor of geothermal power plants, in comparison with wind and solar, is their permanence. They are able to work 24/7 with the same intensity, expending less energy than is produced at the output. An additional advantage is the possibility of obtaining heat used for heating homes and facilities in the immediate area. And for all this don’t need to burn expensive fuel.
The prospects for geothermal
After more than a hundred years since the first demonstration of the possibilities of using geothermal power stations operating on this “fuel,” are promising and essential for some regions. In Russia, for example, almost all stations are located in Kamchatka. In the US we are talking about California, and in Germany about some of the Alpine regions.
Five leaders by the volume of produce Geothermal energy include the US, Indonesia, the Philippines, Italy and New Zealand. It is easy to see that this is countries with very different levels of development. It turns out that geothermal energy is available for everybody and all interested in it. With the development of technologies that increase the efficiency of the stations and of depletion of non-renewable energy sources, geothermal energy will become more and more popular.
For those who are worried about the temperature of the planet, is to say that when the temperature of the center of the Earth a minimum of 6800 degrees Celsius, cools it by only 300-500 degrees, over a billion years. I think that we should not worry about it.