A Geothermal Power Plant at Mammoth-Pacific, CA using Hot water to electric power

What are the main Geothermal Energy Applications?

There are many uses for geothermal around the world from utility scale power to baking bread underground.  The following are the main geothermal energy applications.

Hydrothermal electricity production:

  • Wells drilled into a geothermal reservoir produce hot water and steam from a depth of up to 3 km
  • The geothermal energy is converted at a power plant into electricity
  • Hot water and steam are the carriers of the geothermal energy

Direct use:

  • Applications that use hot water from geothermal resources directly
  • Examples: space heating, crop & lumber drying, food preparation, fish farming, industrial processes etc.
  • Historical traces back to ancient Roman times, e.g. for baths & spas

Geothermal heat pumps:

  • Taking advantage of relatively constant earth temperatures as the source and sink of heat for both heating and cooling, as well as hot water provision.
  • One of the most efficient heating and cooling systems available

Hot Drock/Enhanced or Engineered Geothermal Systems (EGS):

  • Extracts heat by creating a subsurface fracture system to which water can be added through injection wells
  • Water is heated by contact with the rock and is pumped back to the surface through production wells
  • Energy is then converted at a power plant into electric energy as in a hydrothermal geothermal system
  • While there are some projects using the technology, it cannot be considered proven (on an industrial scale).

Geothermal Energy Applications