Geothermal Energy Summary

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Geothermal energy has been used for many thousands of years by people who enjoyed natural hot water springs for bathing and therapeutic reasons. Today, geothermal resources are not only used for direct applications, but also to generate electricity. Currently, most geothermal resources are limited to steam and hot water reservoirs. Innovative technologies are being developed that enable us to exploit the temperature gradients in hot dry rocks, allowing geothermal energy to be used for electricity generation anywhere in the world. This requires the ability to drill approximately 5 to 20 kilometers into the earth’s surface and at reasonable cost, a technology that is not currently available. The exploitation of energy from volcanic eruptions and magma flow remains in the distant future.


(1) Toossi Reza, "Energy and the Environment:Sources, technologies, and impacts", Verve Publishers, 2005

Further Reading

Dipippo, R., Geothermal Power Plants: Principals, Applications and Case Histories, Elsevier, 2005.

Dickson, M. H., Fanelli, M., Geothermal Energy: Utilization and Technology, Stylus Pub., 2005.

Ochsner, K, Geothermal Heat Pumps: A Guide for Planning and Installing, Earthscan Ltd, 2007.

Gupta, H. , and Roy, S., Geothermal Energy: An Alternative Resource for the 21st Century, Elsevier, 2007.

Geothermics, Direct Science Elsevier Publish. Company, publishes articles on geothermal energy resources and technologies.

Geotimes, Journal of the American Geological Institute.

Geo-heat Center Quarterly Bulletin, covers how-to articles on various geothermal applications and equipment, progress in research and development activities of direct heat utilization

Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, an international journal on the geophysical, geochemical, petrological, economic, and environmental aspects of volcanology and geothermal research.

External Links

National Renewable Energy Laboratory Geothermal Energy Program (

Idaho National Laboratory Geothermal Program (

US Department of Energy Geothermal Technology Program (

California Energy Commission ((

Geothermal Resources Council (

Geothermal Energy Association (