Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology

2012 Edition
| Editors: Robert A. Meyers

Geothermal Resources, Drilling for

  • John T. Finger
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0851-3_310

Definition of the Subject

The word “geothermal” comes from the combination of the Greek words gê, meaning Earth, and thérm, meaning heat. Quite literally, geothermal energy is the heat of the Earth. Geothermal resources are concentrations of the Earth’s heat that can be extracted economically for some useful purposes. All existing applications of geothermal energy use a circulating fluid to carry the heat from depth to its use at the surface, and this means that holes must be drilled for access to or introduction of these fluids. Drilling, therefore, is a major component of any geothermal project’s development.

This entry describes the overall process of drilling, with emphasis on the ways in which geothermal drilling differs from other kinds of drilling, such as that for oil and gas. The entry also focuses on the drilling of relatively large-diameter, high-temperature holes, such as those most often used to supply electrical generating plants, and specifically does not address the...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • John T. Finger
    • 1
  1. 1.Sandia National Laboratories, retiredAlbuquerqueUSA