What is geothermal energy, and how does it work?

Wondering what is geothermal energy and how does it work? Geothermal heating is a highly efficient, low-emission, and more feasible source of heat for homes across the globe. This is a solution that is fast gaining popularity owing to environmental concerns and other aspects. The source of geothermal energy is heat-based energy present below the surface of the earth. This heating solution functions by tapping this energy and transforming it into warm air via geothermal heat pumps or GHPs. This procedure is also known as GeoExchange, where smaller electricity amounts spur water-source, earth-coupled, or ground-level heat pumps for cooling and heating households.

As a result, geothermal heat pumps serve as suitable replacements for inefficient, costly, and higher-polluting gas furnaces. They also function well as air conditioners, and some may also help with operating water heaters without any significant extra cost. This is one of the biggest advantages of geothermal energy that you should explore.

Most extensive Uses and Advantages of Geothermal Energy

There is a misconception about the types of geothermal energy, i.e., they are only available in particular geographical areas. While areas closer to volcanic activities (mostly in proximity to tectonic plate boundaries) have higher geothermal energy output and have large-scale geothermal electric power plants, any household can tap into residential technologies for cooling or heating purposes at lower costs and with negligible emissions.

There are numerous uses of geothermal energy, as mentioned. The surface of the earth absorbs approximately 50% of the energy of the sun into the ground. Minerals also witness radioactive decay, combining with the former to generate geothermal energy as we know it. Residential heating functions through burying liquid-filled pipes many feet below the ground. This is commonly in yards or driveways. The liquid will absorb the trapped heat energy while transferring it to the geothermal heat pump positioned in the basement or any other area. The GHP will remove all the heat from the same and pass it onto the household just in the manner of a furnace via forced-air ducts.

One of the most significant advantages of geothermal energy is that no fossil fuels are burnt, and minimal electricity is needed for functioning. In addition, geothermal heat-based systems have up to four times the efficiency of conventional furnaces.

A guide to geothermal heating units

There are various kinds and formats for these heating systems. Some of them include the following:

  • Closed-Loop System- This format comprises continuous pipes (underground) filled with a liquid solution. This solution enables the transfer of geothermal energy to the available heat pump in the basement. This system may be configured in either horizontal or vertical arrangements.
  • Vertical System- This type of heating arrangement will need less space outdoors since holes are mostly drilled via good drillers, and installation takes place vertically for continuous piping loops after that.
  • Horizontal System- As part of this system, continuous piping is arranged in yards for closed-loop systems and a horizontal layout. This may have ample potential for lowering costs at the front end since installation is possible with just a backhoe instead of a drilling rig.
  • Open-Loop Format- This system makes use of groundwater as the source of heat. Instead of circulating a liquid within closed pipes, a new approach is employed for heat delivery to the geothermal heat pump. Here, open-loop pumps are installed for driving groundwater directly towards the GHP. This takes care of the transfer of geothermal energy in turn.
  • Lake or Pond Hybrid Setup- This is a specific open-loop system where the setup is dependent upon a sizable lake or pond for ensuring better geothermal energy. The lake or pond water is linked directly to the geothermal heat pump (GHP).

Despite upfront costs for installing brand new geothermal systems for heating or even retrofitting older units, this could be the best long-term solution for your needs. These systems will save on energy costs and bills while also enhancing the resale value of your property and cutting down on emissions considerably. In addition, geothermal systems may also be fused with other household systems for suitably heating water or cooling air, leading to greater efficiency and cost savings.