• Question: Is there anyway to harness either the heat from the earths core, or the heat produced by the decay of radioactive materials in the earths mantle?

    Asked by mijeffs to Akram, Gill, Jack, Laurence on 21 Mar 2012.
    • Photo: Jack Snape

      Jack Snape answered on 21 Mar 2012:


      Yes! It’s called Geothermal Energy. It’s only easily accessible in certain parts of the world but it can produce a lot of useful energy.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geothermal_energy

      In iceland, there is very easy access to this energy source so the people of iceland effectively get free energy!! It must be nice for them 🙂

    • Photo: Laurence Harwood

      Laurence Harwood answered on 21 Mar 2012:


      Jack has beaten me to it. Geothermal energy is particularly important in Iceland where almost all of their energy – and Icelanders are among the heaviest users of energy per person in the world (there just isn’t very many of them). In the UK, if you did down about 20 metres, there is sufficient heat difference from the surface that, using a heat pump (effectively the reverse of a refrigerator), it is possible to generate useful amounts of heating.

    • Photo: Gill Menzies

      Gill Menzies answered on 21 Mar 2012:


      Some good answers here – there are two types of geothermal energy which can be exploited in the UK. As Laurence suggests – if you dig down deep (20m or so) you reach a point of almost constant temperature regardless of the season or weather on the surface. The temperature difference between the deep pipe and the surface can be used to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat buildings in winter, or cool buildings in summer. The other type of geothermal energy is to coil long lengths of piping across a big area (e.g. under a car park or large garden). The effect is similar but not such great depths are needed, so this is often a cheaper option..

    • Photo: Akram Alomainy

      Akram Alomainy answered on 21 Mar 2012:


      I suspected that it would be answer before I even open the page!! Great stuff guys 🙂

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