15 Fun Facts: Geothermal Energy

What You Probably Didn’t Know

While other renewable energies such as wind power or solar power are more popularly used today, geothermal energy is on the rise, and can be used for a wide variety of applications. Here are a few fun facts about the Earth-dwelling resource:

1. The largest hot spring in the world is Frying Pan Lake in New Zealand. It’s spans around nine acres and its average temperature is 131 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Today, geothermal energy is used in more than 24 countries around the world. The country that uses the most is

3. Geothermal energy produces 0.03% of the emissions that coal produces and .05% of the emissions that natural gas produces.

4. Geothermal energy is more than 2,000 years old and is believed to be first used in China.

5. We can actually make our own geothermal energy using areas that boast hot rocks, but not enough fluids to create a reaction. By injecting fluids into surrounding fractures, we can create our own permeability. This concept is called an Enhanced Geothermal System.

6. Residential heat pumps only need to be installed about 10 feet into the ground. Here, the ground is a constant temperature of 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit all year long.

7. Located in the Mayacamas Mountains of northern California, The Geyers is the oldest geothermal field in the U.S. and the largest commercially productive field in the world.

8. By 2050, U.S. geothermal plants could supply the country with 10% of its electricity.

9. There are three types of geothermal power plants: dry steam, flash, and binary. While dry steam is the oldest technology, binary is the most popular.

10. The germ “geothermal” comes from the Greek words for earth (“geo”) and heat (“thermos”).

11. Geothermal energy sites aren’t 100% reliable. It’s entirely possible for a geothermal site to cool down after it’s been in production for several decades.

12. Geothermal pump systems can be used to both heat and cool your home, thanks to the insulating properties of the Earth.

13. For every 328 feet you go below ground, the temperature increases by 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you reach the Earth’s core (4,000 miles deep), temperatures can reach more than 9,000 degrees.

14. The top producers of geothermal energy in the U.S. are California, Nevada, Utah, Hawaii, and Idaho.

15. Iceland is home to many volcanoes, hot springs, and geysers; 87% of the country’s homes are heated using geothermal energy.