It is important to remember that the sun is the source of all geothermal energy. NASA has some spectacular videos that give you a feel for the power of our sun! Try this video on for size (careful, it can be mesmerising). According to the leader on the video, this 15 minute video required about 150 hours of special technicians’ time to prepare. It is made from ten different wavelength exposures, each shown in different colours here, taken every 10 seconds.
P.S. If you get a white box with or without advertising in the middle of the screen, you can cancel it, Mouse-over the upper right corner area – when you see a small black circle with an “x” in it, click on it. That should close all the garbage and give you an unrestricted view. It is even more spectacular full screen!
This has nothing to do with geothermal energy, but it is a natural science situation that you might find interesting.
I use the accuweather.com website to see what is happening in terms of rain when I take my dogs outside about 5 times per day. They have a new (for me) device called the local weather (really it is precipitation) radar picture that you can focus in on your exact location to see what is coming in the next two hours. That means, I can tell (usually) whether there will be rain before we return or not, and if so, can we postpone a long walk to stay dry. It is quite helpful.
We have had rain off and on for the past three days now, and I noticed a structure in the precipitation picture that did not change with the moving weather. It is a rainless area in central Switzerland with a peculiar shape (probably why I noticed it – it looks like the profile of one of the Easter Island monoliths – remarkable timing, I guess!) that stays put, even though the rest of the weather formation is moving through the area (starting with NW –> SE and now NNW –> SSE). I wrote an email to the accuweather people, but I cannot send them pictures on their website message system, so I am uploading some screenshots here to show them what I am talking about.
Here are the screenshots:
As you can tell from the sequence, the rain was finishing when I started taking the pictures. The end of three days of rain, intermittant but probably 75-85% of the time.
Accuweather people! Can you shed any light on what was occurring here? I do not see any particular ground formations on a relief map that would favour such a stationary system. You can respond here, if you like.
As reported elsewhere here on Geothermal Energy Disadvantages (Plug Pulled on St Gallen Geothermal Power Project, Geothermal Energy Disadvantages), it has been difficult to achieve geothermal energy success in Switzerland in modern usages (forgetting warm springs and such that are decades old or even older). A new study, however writes that Switzerland should not give up its efforts to achieve some success.
The website www.swissinfo.ch has this to say about the recent report:
Despite recent seismic events related to drilling for geothermal power sources, a new study has concluded that Switzerland should continue to pursue geothermal energy as part of its future strategy.
The study from the Centre for Technology Assessment TA-SWISS argues that energy production from geothermal sources is … (read more)
One of the most obvious solutions is to try to build a more substantial geothermal energy facility in a lightly populated area and let the earthquakes come. If the geothermal energy source is strong enough, production of electricity only should yield a profitable project, given the advances in low-level thermal conversion units today. These would not be competitive with units on the order of what Iceland can produce, but the objective for Switzerland is to provide power to a country that has more demand than its natural resources can produce (Switzerland does produce about 55% of the total power production as hydropower (the rest is primarily nuclear in three old power plants which will be shut down at some point and not replaced with nuclear energy). In addition, there are hardly any ecologically and economically acceptable sources of hydropower left untapped.
The need is there, the industry only has to figure out how to tap it.
If you live in a hot climate, you have probably noticed that during the summer months, the cold water coming from your faucet can actually be quite hot. Geothermal heating systems work in exactly the same way, because all that is happening is heat from the earth is being transferred into the water pipes carrying water to your house.
While this effect is well known in certain climates, it is generally not known to happen in colder places, but the fact is, it happens all the time. In Iceland, for example, some towns are completely run on geothermal power and geothermal heating systems are the only way that these towns are powered. Using these systems is not only cost effective, but they are extremely environmentally friendly, because the source of energy is virtually inexhaustible.
Iceland has a lot of volcanic activity and the super-heated rock called magma is found very close to the surface, making this country an ideal place to use geothermal heating systems. So what about other countries?
Certain parts of the U.S.A. have similar volcanic activity, Yellowstone National Park being a prime example. But what if you don’t live in an area like this?
The southwest United States (Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Southern California etc. and even places like Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas) have climates that make the earth’s surface extremely hot. Even in the winter, a few feet below the surface remains hot throughout the year, allowing geothermal heating systems to work very effectively.
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Ground Source Heat Pump Design Site Construction Of The Key Issues
HC HVAC & R Network
Decided Ground Source Heat Pump System after the site visit, in addition to the investigation conducted outside the venue, the key is to drill exploration holes collecting soil thermal parameters. Soil thermal parameters include the thermal conductivity of soil, soil temperature and with depth and seasonal changes in the law, at present, because the domestic lack of research in this area, the relevant technology is not mature, thus limiting the land source Heat Pump Application and development.
Ground-source heat Pump Heat exchanger In Heating Heating Net cycle heat transfer medium between the earth and quite complex, the main difficulty of the system design is the design of heat exchangers. Buried form, pipe or shaft of the pitch, depth, diameter, flow rate of circulating medium is the system should focus on the design and construction of heating network considering the result of heating elements.
Buried sub-layer and multi-level, of which the best depth of buried single level of 0.8 ~ 1.0m, with climate change and greater heat transfer effect, while the multi-layer tube in the lower tube in the lower temperature field, effect of heat transfer better than the single, but it may cost more. Is more commonly used double pipes, the best depth of 1.2 ~ 1.9m. No matter what type of pipe must be buried below the depth of frozen ground.
Ground Source (also Called Geothermal) Heat Pumps: Heat And Cool Your Home Without Gas Or Oil
Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs), often called geothermal heat pumps, tap into the heat naturally generated many meters below the surface of the earth. Just a little ways down, the earth’s temperature is warm and relatively stable, so these systems can bring controllable and effective heating, cooling, and hot water to residential and commercial buildings. Best of all, they allow people to do all this without having to use expensive and carbon-producing fossil fuels such as oil and gas.
There are two types of ground source heat pump systems: those with closed loops and those with open loops. In closed loop systems, liquid (usually with some sort of antifreezing/antiboiling agent mixed in) circulates through pipes buried beneath the earth’s surface. During the winter, when the goal is warming a house, the fluid absorbs heat from the earth and carries back to the building. This very hot liquid can be effectively used to heat a home, and also quite obviously becomes a free-flowing source of useable hot water. During the summer, the system is designed to actually draw heat out of the building, and either use it to heat water for household use or deliver it back into the ground. Open looped systems are similar, except that the water supply within the pipes is continually refreshed.
The bulk of geothermal (GSHP) systems are the pipes that are buried far underground, so what is needed in your home is a unit likely no bigger than your current hot water heater and furnace. If you currently use oil, you may be able to get rid of or at least substantially downsize the size of your oil tank. Many people worry about the longevity and upkeep costs of this type of system because the bulk of the cost goes into burying the pipe underground. Recently however many companies have been offering 40-75 year warranties on the parts of the system that is buried.
If you already have a forced air oil or gas-fed furnace system it may be easy for you to convert to what is called a “dual system”. In this case you would choose which heating and cooling system would be primary at any particular time – most likely the geothermal system – and the other system will only work when needed, such as during an extremely cold spell in the winter.
GSHPs are quiet and safe. There are no exposed parts, fans, storage tanks, etc. that can hurt kids or pets. Nothing is burned so there is no flame. The heating source is the earth so there is nothing to wear out. They are also quiet because the earth is doing the work of the motors in your current furnace.
The initial cost for ground source heat pumps is greater than that of a conventional oil or gas system. However, that initial cost is often made up in three to six years depending on the cost of fuel and the temperature in your area. The greatest benefit of these systems is that you no longer have to use oil or gas at all, so not only are you not subject to the price fluctuations and uncertainty of these fuels, but you also reduce your own “carbon footprint” in the process.
Ground source systems are easy to install, particularly when they are replacing another forced-air system. In this case it is as simple as a retrofit after the pipes are placed. However, they can also be installed to completely replace the system you already have. If you don’t already have central air conditioning, that can be an automatic and immediate benefit of these systems. Contact an experienced installer and he or she can tell you exactly what would be involved in installing a geothermal heat pump in your home.