Geothermal Energy vs Fossil Fuels Energy
Geothermal Energy and Fossil Fuels Energy, what is the difference between them? Well, it is the difference between white and black, I would say, but to elaborate upon these differences, let us first understand what these terms stand for.
Fossil fuels energy
Have you eve thought why fossil fuels are so called? Well, it has got to do with the manner in which their formation takes place. They are derived from fossils of dead organisms as well as trees and other vegetation. Fossilized remains of organic material, because of anaerobic decomposition over millions of years, are converted into oil, gas, and coal. These are called fossil fuels. These fossil fuels have been meeting the requirements of mankind of energy since time immemorial. But due to rapid growth of infrastructure and growing energy needs, rapid depletion of these natural reserves has taken place all over the world, and it is feared that in coming years we may use up all these fossil fuels as they are non renewable sources of energy.
The word geothermal is made up of two words Geo, meaning earth, and thermal (thermos) meaning heat. The heat that is there beneath the surface of the earth is harnessed for our energy needs known as geothermal energy. This heat from earth is because of absorbed heat from the sun, radioactive decay of minerals, energy from the way earth was formed, and from volcanic activity. All this heat is continuously conducted from the core of the earth to the surface of the earth. The temperature difference between the surface of the earth and the core of the earth is called geothermal gradient and it is this difference in temperature that is made use of in the process of using geothermal energy. Natural hot springs, which have been known to mankind since ages, are today being used for electricity generation. 24 countries of the world are collectively making about 10000MW of electricity using these hot springs.
Now that we know a bit about geothermal energy and fossil fuels, we can talk about their differences.
Difference between Geothermal and Fossil Fuel Energy
• It is clear from their definitions that fossil fuels and geothermal energy are natural resources of energy, but while fossil fuels are nonrenewable, geothermal energy is constant and renewable.
• Burning of fossil fuels like coal, petroleum and oil releases green house gases in the environment causing a lot of pollution and global warming, but geothermal energy is cleaner in this respect and leads to no pollution.
• Technology to harness the potential of geothermal energy is still in its developmental stage and mankind is not able to make use of more than a few percent of the total geothermal energy. On the other hand, the technology of extracting fossil fuels is well developed and is able to meet the energy demands of the mankind.
• With passage of time, fossil fuels are rapidly depleting and we may well end up with no fossil fuels in the near future but geothermal energy is constant and is forever.
• Geothermal energy is highly scalable. A huge geothermal energy plant can meet energy requirements of several cities whereas a big power plant does not have that much capacity.
• No fuel is required to get geothermal power, but setting up of plants and drilling expenses are quite high.