Geothermal energy can be potentially used as an energy source to generate electricity across the globe.
FREMONT, CA: Geothermal energy is a crucial discovery that can address energy challenges across the globe. Utilizing the energy of the earth’s temperatures to cool or heat homes and industries is the primary essence of geothermal energy. When it comes to electricity production, geothermal power plants utilize steam to produce electricity. The stream is gathered from reservoirs of hot water lying a few miles below the earth’s surface. Turbines are driven through steam resulting in the generation of electricity. Here are the key types of geothermal power plants that are utilized for the generation of electricity.
Dry Steam Powerplant
Dry steam plants are the most common type of geothermal power plants accounting to around half of the deployed geothermal plants. They function by piping hot steam from beneath the ground reserves directly into turbines, which power the generators, causing the generation of electricity. Once the turbines are powered, the steam transforms into water and is transferred back into the ground through an injection well.
Flash Steam Power Plant
Flash steam power plants utilize geothermal reservoirs of water with temperatures around 360°F (182°C). The hot water races up through wells under its own pressure. As the water flows up, the pressure reduces, resulting in some of the hot water evaporating into steam. The steam is later separated from the water and is utilized to power a generator or a turbine. The remaining water is moved back into the reservoir with the condensed stream.
Binary Cycle Power Plant
In the case of binary cycle plants, the steam or water from below the underground never comes in immediate contact with the turbines. Alternatively, water from ground reserves is pumped through a heat exchanger where it warms another liquid such as isobutene, which has a low boiling temperature. The steam thus generated drives the turbine, whereas the water is recycled into the ground via an injection well.
Geothermal energy accounts for a cleaner alternative to the energy obtained through fossil fuels. The electricity garnered via geothermal energy is both cheaper and offsets the pressure from depleting reserves of fossil fuels.