Geothermal energy is captured by using the heat stored in the Earth’s interior to heat up water. Geothermal energy is achievable by using an area of the Earth where the crust is thin enough to capture the hot water. The water’s hot temperature converts into steam which is brought to the surface and powers an electric generator.
Diagram courtesy of US Environmental Protection Agency
1. Hot water is pumped from the deep underground of the Earth’s hot interior through a well under high pressure.
2. When the water finally reaches the surface, the pressure is then dropped. This drop in pressure causes the hot water to be converted into steam.
3. The steam spins a turbine which is connected to a generator that produces electricity
4. The steam then cools off in a cooling tower and is condensed back into water form.
5. The cooled water is then pumped back into the Earth to start the process again.
Benefits and Drawbacks
Does not produce pollutants during operation
Does not harm land or habitats
Expensive to build which does not make it accessible