Definition: Geothermal Direct Use

From Open Energy Information


Geothermal Direct Use

Low- to moderate-temperature water from geothermal reservoirs can be used to provide heat directly to buildings, or other applications that require heat. Generally, the water in the geothermal reservoirs withdrawn for direct use is between 68° F to 302° F. In addition to residential, commercial and industrial buildings, homes, pools and spas, greenhouses, fish farms, and even mining operations utilize direct use of geothermal resources for heat[1][2]

Wikipedia Definition

Geothermal heating is the direct use of geothermal energy for some heating applications. Humans have taken advantage of geothermal heat this way since the Paleolithic era. Approximately seventy countries made direct use of a total of 270 PJ of geothermal heating in 2004. As of 2007, 28 GW of geothermal heating capacity is installed around the world, satisfying 0.07% of global primary energy consumption. Thermal efficiency is high since no energy conversion is needed, but capacity factors tend to be low (around 20%) since the heat is mostly needed in the winter. Geothermal energy originates from the heat retained within the Earth since the original formation of the planet, from radioactive decay of minerals, and from solar energy absorbed at the surface. Most high temperature geothermal heat is harvested in regions close to tectonic plate boundaries where volcanic activity rises close to the surface of the Earth. In these areas, ground and groundwater can be found with temperatures higher than the target temperature of the application. However, even cold ground contains heat, below 6 metres (20 ft) the undisturbed ground temperature is consistently at the Mean Annual Air Temperature and it may be extracted with a heat pump.

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