Geothermal energy is a form of renewable energy that is available around the clock, irrespective of weather, climate, and daylight. It comprises usable heat from the Earth’s interior, and it has long been associated with hot springs, steam vents and hydrothermal activity. Consequently, geothermal energy in the form of hot water from natural springs has been used for a very long time for bathing and cooking, and heating. In the last 100 years, it has also been used for electricity generation.
Geology plays a critical role in dictating the location and the grade of a resource. However, unlike other geoenergy resources such as hydrocarbons, it cannot be stored and transported. This presentation is an introduction to geothermal resources. It is directed at an audience that has interest in energy resources, geoscience and/or engineering disciplines. One goal is to describe where and how geothermal energy is utilized. Another goal is to introduce basic concepts of heat transfer, enthalpy, and power.
Conventional Geothermal Resources
This presentation deals with unconventional geothermal resources and specifically those called Enhanced Geothermal Systems or EGS. EGS has been the subject of considerable investigation over the last 50 years, and although commercial scale power generation has yet to be achieved, it has enormous potential.