There are some things that are the same between geothermal and hydroelectric energies. Both deal with the process of harnessing the power of water, but there is a major difference in their process of generation. So, to get a better understanding of how these two work, I've put together this article to compare them and help you understand these two types of renewable energy sources.
Both geothermal and hydroelectric energy are generated from water, albeit at different points in time. In some cases, hydroelectric reservoirs have been used for millennia, while others have only been developed in the last century or so. Both energy sources also rely on natural geological conditions. Geothermal energy is generated as hot water rises from deep within the earth to the surface and facilitates the extraction of energy from thermal water (i.e., hot springs). Hydroelectric power plants capture run-off rainfall or snowmelt that would otherwise flow away without generating electricity.
Geothermal and hydroelectric energy are both renewable sources of energy, as they do not emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Both geothermal and hydroelectric energy use a process called "geothermal heat pumps," which use water to transfer thermal energy from one place to another. This is done by pumping geothermal fluid through a heat exchanger, which transfers the fluid's thermal energy from the ground to an output tank where it can be used for heating or cooling. The heat exchanger uses either water or a liquid (such as propane) and converts the temperature difference between two fluids into mechanical work. This is then converted into useful power using a motor or generator.
The use of natural resources
Both geothermal energy and hydroelectric energy come from the use of natural resources.
Geothermal energy is derived from the decay of radioactive elements within the earth's crust, which are released by volcanic activity. Hydroelectric power is generated by the force of water flowing against a fixed object, like a dam or waterfall.
Both forms of renewable energy have an advantage over fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are non-renewable sources that burn and release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, causing climate change and contributing to global warming. Renewable sources such as wind and solar power, on the other hand, produce no harmful gases when they're used to generate electricity.
Both forms of renewable energy can be used in place of fossil fuels for many purposes. Geothermal energy can be used for heating buildings or operating machinery in areas where coal or natural gas would otherwise be burned for heat and electricity production; hydroelectricity can be used to produce electricity at remote locations where coal or natural gas would not be economically feasible due to their high cost.
Both are renewable sources. Both have been used to produce electricity since the 19th century, and both are still used today and both have a small land footprint.
Hydroelectricity is a form of renewable energy that provides power by harnessing the kinetic energy of flowing water to create electricity. This method is more efficient than other methods such as wind turbines or solar panels, but it also has several drawbacks such as high maintenance costs and the need for dams.
On the other hand, geothermal electricity is produced by using natural heat from the earth. This method is not as efficient as hydroelectric power plants, but it has no environmental impact and does not require any damming or excavation work.
Neither use fuel to generate power
The two main types of energy are:
Fossil fuel – This is a non-renewable resource that is formed from dead plants and animals. It is used to generate electricity and heat in power stations.
Geothermal – This source of energy comes from below the Earth’s surface and can be used for heating, cooling or electricity generation.
Hydroelectricity is similar to geothermal energy but it uses water falling down a stream or river as its medium instead of hot water. Hydroelectric power stations are also known as hydroelectric dams.
Clean sources of energy
Geothermal energy and hydroelectric energy are clean sources of energy. Both are renewable, and they produce no greenhouse gases. However, they have different methods of generating electricity.
Hydroelectric power has been used for hundreds of years. It involves using gravity to push water into a turbine that spins a generator. The power is then sent through a transmission line to your home or business.
Geothermal energy comes from the Earth's interior and outer core. As hot rocks move through the ground, they release heat energy, which can be harnessed to produce electricity. Geothermal plants generally sit on top of active volcanoes, where hot springs commonly occur near the surface within the Earth's crust.