IDT Energy New York continues its investigation into the different types of Clean Energy Technologies that are being used and developed today. Among them are geothermal heat pumps.
Deep within the earth, at its core, 4,000 miles below the surface, radioactive substances such as uranium and potassium slowly decay in magma, which produces heat continually in this naturally occurring process. What is truly amazing is that within 10,000 meters of the surface of the Earth there exists 50,000 times more energy than all of the world’s oil and natural gas resources put together.
Utilizing the Geothermal Energy
All that energy is useless and wasted if it is not captured in some way. This is where geothermal heat pumps come in, which is what geothermal energy refers to in New York State. Because of the underground heat which is constantly produced in the magma, immediately below the earth’s surface there is almost no temperature change, no matter what the weather on the surface. Within 10 feet of the earth’s surface there is a nearly constant temperature of between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Geothermal heat pumps, also known as ground-source heat pumps, use these steady temperatures to provide heating, hot water, and cooling for homes and buildings.
The basic idea is that heat is moved from an area of lower temperature to an area of higher temperature. Because this is against the natural flow of heat dictated by the laws of physics, this process which transfers the heat against the laws of physics is called a pump.
The way the heat pump works is by sending liquid antifreeze through pipes under the ground. As the antifreeze circulates, the liquid collects the heat that is in the earth, and is pumped back up through the system into buildings and homes. In the summer the system is reversed and the heat is instead removed from the homes and buildings and put back into the ground.