Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology

Living Edition
| Editors: Robert A. Meyers

Geothermal Energy Utilization

  • John W. LundEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-2493-6_231-3

Definition and Importance of Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is the heat contained within the Earth that generates geological phenomena on a planetary scale. The main sources of this energy are the heat flow from the Earth’s core and mantle generated by the radioactive decay of potassium, thorium, and uranium in the crust or friction heat generated in subduction zones along continental plate margins. It may be characterized by surface expression of fumaroles, hot springs, geysers, volcanic eruption, and lava flows. Geothermal energy is often used to indicate that part of the Earth’s heat that can, or could, be recovered and exploited by humankind. The resource is large, is renewable in the broad sense, and is available almost everywhere in the world, depending upon the depth to the resource and the economics to produce it. The total estimated thermal energy above surface temperature to a depth of 10 km under the continents, reachable with current drilling technology, is 1.3 × 1027...


Heat Pump Instal Capacity Geothermal Energy Geothermal Water District Heating 
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Primary Literature

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    Lund JW (2006) Chena hot springs. Geo-Heat Center Quart Bull 27(3):2–4, Oregon Institute of Technology, Klamath FallsGoogle Scholar
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Books and Reviews

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  4. Kavanaugh SP, Rafferty K (1997) Ground-source heat pumps – design of geothermal systems for commercial and institutional buildings. American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Atlanta, 167 pGoogle Scholar
  5. Lund JW, Lienau PJ, Lunis BC (1998) Geothermal direct-use engineering and design guidebook, 3rd edn. Geo-Heat Center, Klamath Falls, 454 pGoogle Scholar


  1. European Geothermal Energy Council, Belgium. www.geothermie.de/egec_geothernet/menu/frameset.htm
  2. Geothermal Education Office, USA. http://geothermal.marin.org
  3. Geothermal Energy Association, USA. http://www.geo-energy.org
  4. Geo-Heat Center, USA. http://geoheat.oit.edu
  5. Geothermal Resources Council, USA. http://www.geothermal.org
  6. IEA (International Energy Agency) Heat Pump Center, Netherlands. www.heatpumpcentre.org
  7. International Geothermal Association. http://www.geothermal-energy.org
  8. International Ground Source Heat Pump Association, USA. http://www.igshpa.okstate.edu
  9. Stanford University Geothermal Program. http://pangea.stanford.edu/ERE/research/geoth/
  10. U.S. Department of Energy, Geothermal Technologies. www.eere.energy.gov/geothermal/
  11. World Geothermal Congress 2010, Indonesia. www.wgc2010.org

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geo-Heat CenterOregon Institute of TechnologyKlamath FallsUSA