Underground Energy

by - October 19, 2020

            Without relying too much on any one energy resource, the use of all will help in sustainable development. In that context, the importance of underground energy (heat) is increasing day by day.

                The use of unconventional energy around the world has been emphasized for a long time in the interest of protecting the environment. However, some members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have claimed that climate change could affect the production of unconventional energy. Take, for example, hydropower. While this energy may have seemed huge at first, it has begun to have a negative impact on the world's energy production, with erratic rainfall, warming whims & increasing erosion around the world. In 2018, Victoria Falls on the African continent dried up due to a long drought. This affected the power generation centered on the waterfall.

              Looking at that, the researchers are claiming that in the coming days, the use of all energy resources will help in sustainable development without relying too much on one resource. In that context, the importance of underground heat energy is increasing. Researchers claim that it will emerge as the third most unconventional force in the world if it goes ahead as planned. Although the discussion of the use of underground energy is not new. Efforts have been made to harness this power since the middle of the twentieth century. However, still a far way to go.

        Underground energy can be used in two ways. First, it produces electricity from underground reservoirs, known as the 'steam method'. The other is to generate electricity directly from lava or magma heat. However, there are some technical problems in using this power. First, building infrastructure to generate electricity in this way is long-term and costly. Second, there is a fear of increasing gases like sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, even though the production of this method reduces the production of carbon dioxide. In addition, lava can reach the surface and cause major disasters if directly connected to the subsoil.

                However, a part of the researchers claims that it is possible to overcome the obstacles if the initial obstacles can be overcome. There is no disagreement about the cost and time required to build the power generation infrastructure in this method. But once the infrastructure is built, it is possible to gradually increase power generation. If production increases, electricity will also become cheaper.

            According to a recent statistic, it has been possible to bring these resources within the reach of the common man by increasing production in countries like the Philippines and Iceland without incurring huge costs after building the infrastructure to generate electricity from underground energy. Currently, about twenty-five percent of the Philippines' electricity demand is generated from underground energy. In the case of Iceland, there is no other source of energy, so electricity from underground energy is meeting all the demand. And in 2010 the world used to generate 10 GW of electricity, but in 2018 it increased to 13.3 GW. Currently, America is at the top in generating electricity from underground energy.

            At the same time, some researchers are reluctant to give too much importance to the fears that are being raised about accidents and pollution. They claim that it is possible to capture gases such as sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide before mixing them with air. In addition, since such ‘power plants’ are operated outside the locality, the risk of damage is much lower.

         The important thing is that developing countries are gradually shifting from underground energy to power generation. In addition to the Philippines and Iceland, countries such as Peru have long-term plans to harness this power. In the case of India too, it is possible to generate electricity at a profitable rate by utilizing this energy in areas like the Himalayas. Even in areas like Andaman and Nicobar, the location of volcanoes could be used to generate electricity from underground sources. It requires study and planning at the administrative level. In a country like India, this energy could become a driving force in the future in preventing pollution, researchers hope.

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