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Autor: anton • March 9, 2011 • 605 Words (3 Pages) • 483 Views
Geothermal Energy in Australia
Geothermal energy is being investigated as a possible energy source for the electricity generation primarily because of its enormous potential to power cities like Adelaide for a very long time. About 3-5 kilometers below the surface of Australia are huge resources of granite that the molten core of the earth has heated to about 250 degrees centigrade. One cubic kilometer of hot granite at this temperature has the same energy potential as 40 million barrels of oil.
It is considered to be far more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels because it has zero carbon emissions and uses the natural heat from the earth to create steam from water that drives turbines to generate electricity. Unlike burning natural gas (CH4, Methane) for example, geothermal power stations do not release Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere, as shown below:
H2O (l) (arrow) H2O(g) (Simply heating water until evaporates into steam has no byproducts)
CH4 + 2O2 (arrow) CO2 + 2H2O (Products of burning Methane with Oxygen are Carbon Dioxide and Water)
The superheated rocks of the Cooper Basin have been described as a long-term, renewable energy source for Australia. The phrase Ð²Ð‚?long-termÐ²Ð‚™ means that the source will last for a great many years, or in this case decades before it runs out. In fact, as long as the rocks under the earth are being constantly heated by the core, as they have been for millions of years, the source is unlikely to run out. The term Ð²Ð‚?renewableÐ²Ð‚™ means that the energy can be renewed, or used time and time again.
Geodynamic propose to convert the energy from hot granite into electricity. A simple flow chart describing this process is as follows:
Australia is behind other countries in terms of investing in renewable forms of energy. There are several impediments that have prevented the environmentally friendly energy industry from establishing itself on a large scale in Australia. They includeÐ²Ð‚¦
The main advantages of using geothermal energy are: It has the potential to power large cities for hundreds if not thousands of years, and supplies of hot granite will not deplete unlike fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. It is cost effective for businesses and it