There are lots of renewable energy sources that are available now, from solar energy to wind energy. One of these is geothermal power, which extracts the heat from the ground in order to produce energy. We’ll be looking at the environmental benefits and financial benefits of using this sort of energy.
How To Use Geothermal Power
Two ways exist to use geothermal power. One is to create electricity through a power station. In that case they work in much the same way as a conventional power station, heating the water to create steam to turn the turbines. They are not used very much though because there aren’t many locations where they are efficient enough.
If you are going to use a ground source heat pump though, you won’t need so much heat so they can work anywhere. If they do not provide enough heat for your needs, then your regular boiler will be able to take on any additional heating needs.
From now on we will be focusing attention on the use of ground source heat pumps, as this is the only kind of geothermal energy which people can actually use. The question then, is how efficient is a heat pump of this sort? Well actually that is not the best question, because efficiency takes in to account all energy, not just how much we put in.
Instead, what we need to think about is the coefficient of performance. This measures how much energy you get out as related to the amount that you had to put in. A certain amount of energy has to be put in to the system, in the form of electrical energy, in order to get the pumps to work.
Ground source heat pumps have got a coefficient of performance of between 3 and 5. What this means is that for every unit of energy we put in to it, we get between 3 and 5 times more heat energy out. If this was efficiency, then it would mean it would have a rating between 300% and 500%.
What this means for the environment is that you have to use a lot less in terms of conventional energy to provide your heating needs. This means that you will be reducing your carbon footprint by a significant amount.
It’s an important point that your carbon footprint is cut because of course it is the emissions of carbon dioxide caused by burning fossil fuels which brings about global warming. So if everyone used heat pumps, there would be an important reduction in the amount of fossil fuels which have to be burned.
We can translate financial benefits directly from these environmental advantages of course. The less energy you need from a conventional supplier, the less money you are going to have to pay on energy bills. To determine whether the savings are worth it or not though, you have to consider the cost of the installation.
When it comes to the cost for the installation of ground source heat pumps, that depends on what sort of installation you go for. If you get a vertical installation then that is going to cost the most, but on the other hand you’ll also get more heat that way. The cheaper installation is the vertical one. Or even cheaper is the option to get an air source heat pump instead.
In order to make heat pumps more financially attractive though, the UK government is about to introduce the renewable heat incentive. This will apply to geothermal power, and means that you get money for each unit of heat energy you create with a ground source heat pump.