Geothermal Energy vs. Geothermal Heat Pumps

Geothermal heating versus geothermal energy. Both are green energy solutions and both are called geothermal; so what’s the difference? Geothermal heating and geothermal energy both rely on underground temperature to harness energy, however, the way each process extracts the air from the ground is done on very different sized scales. Homeowners are often discouraged from installing a geothermal heat pump because it is often easily confused with geothermal energy, which is a large production. Here at Geothermal Genius we would like to pinpoint the differences between these commonly confused clean energy solutions.

Geothermal Energy: First and foremost, geothermal energy plants generate electricity.  Beneath the earth’s crust there is a layer of magma that heats underground water, which fills in cracks and reservoirs in the earth’s mantle with steam. The trapped steam is then utilized to power a turbine and generate electricity. Capitalizing on this free energy, power plants drill deep wells thousands of miles into the earth to capture the steam. The steam is then processed at the power plants to create electricity, which can usually power an entire grid. Geothermal energy systems are dependent on geological conditions and are generally only found in the western part of the United States. For more information about geothermal energy plants check out this article from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Geothermal Heat Pumps: Geothermal heat pumps, also referred to as ground source heat pumps or geoexchange use a concept similar to geothermal energy, but on a much smaller scale. While geothermal energy can produce enough electricity to power a community, geothermal heating manufactures enough energy from the ground to heat and cool a single building (small home or large office building).

An extremely important attribute of geothermal heat pumps is that they do not generate energy, but are an efficient way of using energy. Using electricity, geothermal heat pumps move a glycol solution through an underground series of pipes. The solution is heated or cooled by the constant underground temperature and circulated through your home to heat or cool the inside temperature. (To learn more about the efficiency of geothermal heat pumps check out This Article).

We hope this clears up any confusion regarding the differences between geothermal energy and geothermal heat pumps. If you still have questions relating to anything geothermal don’t hesitate to Ask an Expert!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to TwitterAdd to Newsvine

Leave a Reply