Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology

2012 Edition
| Editors: Robert A. Meyers

Geothermal Energy, Nature, Use, and Expectations

  • Barry Goldstein
  • Gerardo Hiriart
  • Jeff Tester
  • Luis Gutierrez-Negrin
  • Ruggero Bertani
  • Christopher Bromley
  • Ernst Huenges
  • Arni Ragnarsson
  • Mike Mongillo
  • John W. Lund
  • Ladislaus Rybach
  • Vladimir Zui
  • Hirofumi Muraoka
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0851-3_309

Definition of Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is the terrestrial generated heat stored in, or discharged from rocks and fluids (water, brines, gasses) saturated pore space, fractures, and cavities and is widely harnessed in two ways: for power (electricity) generation and for direct use, e.g., heating, cooling, aquaculture, horticulture, spas, and a variety of industrial processes, including drying. Thermal energy is used by taking heat from geothermal reservoirs replenished by natural recharge. Reservoirs that are naturally sufficiently hot and permeable are called hydrothermal reservoirs, whereas reservoirs that are sufficiently hot but require artificial improvement of a rock permeability are called engineered (enhanced) geothermal systems (EGS) . Geothermal energy can be used to generate electricity or directly for processes that need thermal energy. Geothermal energy can be used to provide dispatchable, base-load electricity power plants.


Geothermal energy...

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The authors thank their international colleagues who have contributed so much of their professional lives and time to provide improved understanding of geothermal systems. We are especially grateful to Ken Williamson, David Newell, Trevor Demayo, Arthur Lee, Subir Sanyal, Roland Horne, David Blackwell, Greame Beardsmore, and Doone Wyborn.


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Websites, Books and Reviews

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Goldstein
    • 1
  • Gerardo Hiriart
    • 2
  • Jeff Tester
    • 3
  • Luis Gutierrez-Negrin
    • 4
  • Ruggero Bertani
    • 5
  • Christopher Bromley
    • 6
  • Ernst Huenges
    • 7
  • Arni Ragnarsson
    • 8
  • Mike Mongillo
    • 6
  • John W. Lund
    • 9
  • Ladislaus Rybach
    • 10
  • Vladimir Zui
    • 11
  • Hirofumi Muraoka
    • 12
  1. 1.Pirsa Petroleum GroupAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Energías AlternasEstudios y ProyectosMexicoMexico
  3. 3.Energy Institute, Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  4. 4.Mexican Geothermal AssociationMexicoMexico
  5. 5.EnelRomeItaly
  6. 6.GNS ScienceWairakei Research CentreTaupoNew Zealand
  7. 7.GFZ-PotsdamPotsdamGermany
  8. 8.Iceland GeoSurveyReykjavíkIceland
  9. 9.Geo-Heat CenterOregon Institute of TechnologyKlamath FallsUSA
  10. 10.Geowatt AGZürichSwitzerland
  11. 11.Belarusian Research Geological Prospecting InstituteMinskBelarus
  12. 12.National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and TechnologyInstitute for Geo-Resources and Environment (GREEN)TsukubaJapan