Geothermal Energy Definition

Geothermal energy allows many definitions—most revolving around the concepts of “earth” and “heat”. Expanded definitions additionally focus on a renewable nature of geothermal energy.

The vast supply of heat from the Earth can be utilized as a source of energy in many ways – from simple, direct use for applications such as heating houses, pools and greenhouses to large and complex power stations that convert geothermal energy into electricity. This clean and versatile energy source is being regarded as an affordable and sustainable solution to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and environmental hazards that are associated with their use.

In this article we will look at some of the definitions and connotations of geothermal energy.

Egg and Howard (2011), for example, supply the following geothermal energy definition:

The word geothermal has two parts: geo, meaning earth, and thermal meaning heat. Thus, geothermal concerns using heat from the Earth.

Here is Nelson Vaughn’s (2011) definition of geothermal energy:

Geothermal energy is ubiquitous, abundant and inexhaustible. It powers the movement of the continents across the face of the planet, it melts rock that erupt as volcanoes, and it supplies the energy that supports life in the ocean depths … All of this is possible and with minimal environmental consequence.

In their book “Geothermal Energy: An Alternative Resource for the 21st Century” Gupta and Sukanta (2007) define geothermal energy simply as:

The Eearth’s heat.

Dickson and Fanelli’s (2005) geothermal energy definition is as follows:

Geothermal energy is the heat contained within the earth that generates geological phenomena on a planetary scale.

In their report titled “Technology Roadmaps: Geothermal Heat and Power”, IEA (2011) says that

geothermal energy is stored in rock and in trapped vapour or liquids, such as water or brines; these geothermal resources can be used for generating electricity and for providing heat (and cooling). Geothermal energy is considered renewable as there is a constant terrestrial heat flow to the surface, then to the atmosphere from the immense heat stored within the Earth.


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