Nanotechnology and Geothermal Energy
Nanotechnology and geothermal energy have been hot topics lately. Currently, geothermal energy accounts for just about .5% of energy production, but that number could rise to as much as 10% in the future. Below the surface of the Earth, there is a storehouse of heat, waiting to be tapped into for energy production purposes.
Challenges and Controversy with Commercial Systems
Geothermal energy has been a topic of research that is somewhat controversial. By using the heat deep in the Earth to produce energy, dependence on fossil fuels can be reduced, but is it really worth it?
Deep drilling for this resource has been shown to cause small earthquakes. Putting earthquakes aside, geothermal energy requires very high temperatures to be effective. There are only a few places in the world that could even benefit from this source of energy and they would face problems such as needing to provide antifreeze for the pipes that run the system in cold times, and the risk of pollution and altering the landscape.
Thankfully, these problems have only encouraged scientists to continue research using nanotechnology to solve these issues. Solutions are being developed that uses nanotechnology, where energy can be produced from lower temperature sources. Earthquakes? Not any more. There won’t be the need to drill as deeply to produce effective amounts of energy, greatly reducing the risk of earthquakes. Because of lower temperature requirements, nanotechnology and geothermal energy will make it possible to generate power in more places, making the number of people who would benefit much greater.
Solving the Challenges
Many worry about the environmental effects and it is wise to evaluate the unintended consequences of any new technology. Nanotechnology has actually helped eliminate many of the effects on the environment from drilling into the Earth’s crust. In the past, poisonous gases have been released and land sinkage has occurred when too much water has been removed from the reservoir at the bottom of the well.
The new technology has the ability to clean the gases out of the air, reducing the amount of pollution. They can also replace the water back into the ground from where it came, reducing land sinkage and reusing the resource more efficiently.
What does all of this mean for you? Well, if you live in an area that can benefit from nanotechnology and geothermal energy, this means a more renewable source of energy that is cleaner and much less expensive. Your local utility company can produce cheaper electricity, lower pollution, and rely less on fossil fuels.
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