Geothermal Energy Systems
Tech Thursdays with ATS – Geothermal Energy Systems
Developing technologies is a subject that is near and dear to ATS considering that we test for and remove outdated storage tanks and even developed our own tank testing equipment. Scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs are constantly creating new technologies that make our daily lives easier, streamline difficult processes, improve the environment, and generally bring us closer as a global community. Every Thursday, ATS will bring you a new “tech” that we think is worth learning about!
Geothermal energy has been around for hundreds and thousands of years, simply the channeled energy generated from the earth’s thermal core. The hot water or steam, from this core temperature, is used to create electricity or for heating and cooling. While it is a renewable source of energy with a fairly low carbon output, it has been predominantly common in geographic areas with significant seismic activity. Traditionally, these areas were able to channel that heat into three main types of energy plants, dry steam, flash and binary, based on whether they were using steam or a hot water deposit. However, recently, with the introduction of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, scientists and engineers are finding other ways to recover geothermal energy, using the same techniques of fracking that the oil and gas industry use to recover natural gas. With so many options of harnessing this energy, it’s a technology that’s slowly gaining more followers.
This week, the spike in popularity of geothermal energy systems is best highlighted by the Missouri University of Science and Technology. Today the Missouri University of Science and Technology (S&T) unveils its fully operational geothermal energy plant. The project took four years to complete, and will provide energy for seventeen of the buildings on campus. The projected energy savings from this new plant will be a 50 percent reduction in the university’s external energy needs. The project will also significantly reduce the university’s carbon emissions and reduce their water usage by 10 percent.
In light of recent United Nations discussions on the irreversible damages of fossil fuels, the completely on-campus energy plant at S&T points to a shift towards more sustainable technology solutions. Geothermal energy systems might be a technology that we hear a lot more about in the future.