Energy directly from the Earth

The Earth has its own internal energy, that is responsible for the dynamics of our planet, and volcanic activity is its most evident example, however, this energy also spreads silently and continuously towards the surface in the form of heat: this occurs in every spot of the Earth, even in those areas which do not seem to have any volcanic or geologic activity. Deeper and deeper into the subsoil, the rock temperatures increase with a gradient of 1°C every 33 m in depth on average, even though there are areas which are particularly active, where the temperature increase is more consistent (as for example in volcanic areas): in these particular areas, the so called geothermal fields, the energy found deep in the Earth is exploited to produce electric power. However, this requires very high temperatures, so it is possible only in some fields, called high enthalpy fields (or high temperature fields). The Earth’s internal heat can be exploited also when the temperatures are not very high, not for the production of electricity but to obtain heat for domestic heating or for other industrial uses (refer to the special report on geothermal energy). If special devices such as heat pumps are connected to the process to “capture” endogenous heat, an “indirect” use of thermal energy of the Earth becomes possible , and much lower temperatures of “direct” geothermal energy can be exploited: and therefore there is the possibility of a greater diffusion of this use of geothermal energy also in areas without the particular geological conditions of the geothermal fields.

Special reports

  • 23 October 2013

    Carbon Footprint

    A very special footprint...

    4 November 2009

    Ecological house

    At present, it is more and more difficult to assure the comfort standard...

    13 May 2013

    Small steps, great footprints

    Have you ever wondered how much space is taken up by an apple or a steak?...

  • 18 May 2011

    Artificial photosynthesis

    The history of science and technology is packed with discoveries and inventions inspired by nature...

    27 September 2012

    Over 7 billion people on Earth

    Demographers have estimated that on 31 October 2011 world population...

    22 May 2016

    Green chemistry

    Chemistry accompanies man from that day long ago...

  • 18 January 2016

    Ten years of oil demand

    Eni has recently published the 14th edition of the 2015 World Oil and Gas Review...

    14 July 2021

    Italy’s renewable sources

    Renewable energy sources in Italy The Energy Services Operator (GSE) periodically publishes data and statistics on the renewable energy sources…

    10 September 2020

    A simple and ingenious invention

    There are objects so simple and ordinary that we forget their existence when we don't need them. Their presence is…

From the Multimedia section

  • energy

    Geothermal power plant

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    energy

    Energy of Earth

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    energy

    Geyser in Yellowstone Park

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  • energy

    Spas

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    Japanese macaques

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    Temperature and depth

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  • energy

    Installed power of geothermal plants in Italy

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    energy

    Diagram of a geothermal power plant

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    energy

    Geothermal energy production in Italy

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  • energy

    Geothermal power plant

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    energy

    Energy of Earth

    Look
  • energy

    Geyser in Yellowstone Park

    Look

    energy

    Spas

    Look
  • energy

    Japanese macaques

    Look

    energy

    Temperature and depth

    Look
  • energy

    Geothermal power plant

    Look
  • energy

    Energy of Earth

    Look
  • energy

    Geyser in Yellowstone Park

    Look

Facts

  • 16 May 2011

    An artificial geyser

    Electric and thermal power produced from geothermal energy depend on the existence of underground infiltrations...

    A hydrogen house

    In Settimo, a municipality close to Turin, the first Unité d’Abitation has been created...

  • Porto Marghera Hydrogen Park

    In Porto Marghera (Venice), the Hydrogen Park was created. It is the biggest centre in the world for hydrogen production...

    Hydrogen from the sugar cane

    The Centro di Ricerca Interuniversitario per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile (CIRPS) carried out a study in Peru...

  • 14 June 2011

    Some curiosities about methane hydrates

    The melting of the ice cells, not only brings about the release of methane gas, but it also produces another…

    16 May 2011

    The “wave-swallowing” dragon

    Wave Dragon, that swallows waves and generates electricity is a plant...

  • An artificial geyser

    Electric and thermal power produced from geothermal energy depend on the existence of underground infiltrations...

  • A hydrogen house

    In Settimo, a municipality close to Turin, the first Unité d’Abitation has been created...

  • Porto Marghera Hydrogen Park

    In Porto Marghera (Venice), the Hydrogen Park was created. It is the biggest centre in the world for hydrogen production...