The term “geothermal energy” is frequently misunderstood. It is energy that comes from heat emitted from the earth’s interior and is regarded as clean and sustainable. In regions with active geology (geysers, volcanoes, hot springs, etc.), such as Iceland, geothermal energy can be extracted from shallower depths. Electricity is produced by geothermal heat plants by pumping hot steam and water up from underground.
However, in the UK, digging 500–2,500 square meters would be necessary to provide the necessary heat. The technique is therefore inappropriate for residential usage in the UK due to its complexity and expense.
However, it is possible to capture solar heat that is absorbed in the soil, a reliable and natural source of heat. This is referred to as ground source heat, while other people refer to it as geothermal. Ground source heat pumps are used to provide this heat (GSHPs). It basically involves the transmission of heat from the earth to the heating system in your house. Despite their stark differences, ground-source heat pumps and geothermal heating systems both offer advantages and disadvantages.
In light of this, we have listed the benefits and drawbacks of using ground-source heat and geothermal energy for home applications.
Benefits of Using Geothermal Energy
#1. Efficient Heating and Cooling
Geothermal energy is very effective at transporting heat rather than producing it, therefore the equipment may run at 300 to 500 percent efficiency for heating and cooling. This means that a geothermal heat pump transports three to five units of heat for every unit of power it uses.
In comparison to today’s most energy-efficient furnaces and air conditioners, you can anticipate savings of 30 to 60 percent on heating expenditures and 25 to 50 percent on cooling costs at this pace.
#2. Low Environmental Impact
Geothermal energy is the most environmentally friendly type of electricity currently accessible. In contrast to oil and gas furnaces, it does not need to burn fuel, hence it is almost emission-free.
Combining geothermal heat pumps with solar panels is an excellent approach to further reduce the environmental effect of the equipment as it still requires power to run.
Geothermal energy is different from fossil fuels, which are quickly running out of supply. All it does is draw heat from the soil, whose temperature is significantly more stable throughout the year than that of the air. Geothermal energy generation will be possible for as long as the earth survives.
#4. Not Weather Dependent
Although solar and wind energy is considered renewable energy sources because they will never run out, when the sun goes down and the wind stops blowing, there may be a brief electrical deficit. But the earth and the energy it generates are always there.
#5. Low Maintenance Requirements
Geothermal heat pumps are extremely reliable and need less maintenance since they have fewer moving parts than typical HVAC systems. Thus there are fewer failures and lower maintenance expenditures.
#6. Flexible Uses
Geothermal energy can be used to power both the smallest residential building and the biggest commercial structure.
#7. Quiet Operation
A geothermal heat pump’s biggest parts are buried underneath. You may benefit from the practically silent operation without the need for the loud fan and compressor that are necessary for air conditioners and air-source heat pumps.
Disadvantages of Geothermal Energy
#1. Require Higher Initial Cost than Alternative HVAC Systems
For some, a geothermal heat pump’s installation costs are a deterrent. The investment, however, may pay for itself in just five to ten years with incredibly effective performance.
#2. Installing in an Existing Home Requires Large-Scale Excavation
The installation of a geothermal heat pump in an existing home is doable, but retrofitting necessitates extensive excavation. Installing the system during the building of a new home is significantly more practical.
#3. Require Costly Repairs
Mice, shifting soil, and tree roots can harm a geothermal system’s subsurface loops. Repairing the equipment might be a significant impediment if this occurs.
Conclusion: Is Geothermal Energy the Future?
To capture the heat present under the Earth’s surface, certain nations have built geothermal energy facilities. Geothermal energy is sustainable and renewable when compared to other types of power sources.
It also produces substantially fewer pollutants in the environment and consumes a great deal less fossil fuel to operate.
These geothermal energy advantages and disadvantages demonstrate that this energy source isn’t flawless. It isn’t utilized more frequently for a variety of economic and environmental reasons. Geothermal energy will eventually become safer and more efficient as a result of ongoing research, and it will see an increase in popularity in the future.