What is geothermal?

What Does geothermal Mean

Geothermal is a term that does not appear in the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy ( RAE ), where the concept of geothermal is defined (which refers to the thermal phenomena that take place inside the planet Earth).

The notion, however, is used in our language to refer to a class of energy: geothermal energy , which is generated from the heat that comes from the bosom of the globe.
The idea of ​​geothermal or geothermal is formed with the compositional element geo- (which refers to the Earth or the earth) and the adjective thermal / a (linked to temperature or heat). When the natural internal heat of the planet is harnessed, geothermal energy is produced.

Said heat is transmitted by convection or conduction through hot rocks, which interact with each other and with some fluids, producing so-called geothermal systems. It is important to bear in mind that the Earth's temperature increases with depth: the deeper the earth's layers, the higher the temperature. If a deep layer heats groundwater, it can boil to the surface as liquid and vapor through hot springs or geysers .
Two very important concepts in this framework are mentioned in the previous paragraph: conduction and convection. The first is also known as the transfer of energy in the form of heat , and it is a process through which heat is transmitted between two bodies that come into direct contact. Throughout heat conduction, on the other hand, bodies do not exchange matter. It should be noted that temperature travels from the hottest body to the coldest.
Regarding convection, it is another mode of heat transfer . Its main feature is that it takes place by means of a fluid (either liquid, plasma or gas) that carries heat from one area to another, as long as they are at different temperatures. In addition to fluids, convection can take place through the evaporation of water or the use of certain materials.
Through drilling and pumping works it is possible to exploit the geothermal energy of the planet . Geothermal energy reservoirs, in this framework, can be dry or hot water.
To exploit a dry deposit , a water injection is usually made in the hot stones. As for hot water reservoirs , they can be used as thermal baths or by drilling, pumping and injections.
It is important to note that geothermal energy is a renewable energy since it is not depleted with its use. Its environmental impact, on the other hand, is reduced compared to other types of energy .

Let's see some of the advantages of geothermal energy:
* makes the economy less dependent on the exploitation of non-renewable resources, such as fossil fuels, which has a positive impact on the environment ;
* Similar to the previous point, its impact on the environment is less because it generates a very low volume of waste compared to coal and oil;
* it is a system that saves energy and money;
* does not produce external noises;
* As mentioned above, geothermal is inexhaustible.
On the other hand, these are some of its disadvantages:
* In some dry reservoirs, micro- earthquakes ( low intensity earthquakes ) have taken place because the hot stones cooled abruptly;
* the emission of hydrogen sulfide, which cannot always be detected through smell, can be lethal;
* Geothermal energy cannot be transported unless a heat carrier and exchanger are used.

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