No, it is not exactly as simple as digging deep enough into the Earth to tap in to geothermal energy.
Microwave drilling is a new technology that is used at a small scale. It can be used to drill 12 miles (or 19.31km) into the Earths surface where the real heat is found. Some studies show that the temperature of the Earth’s core is hotter than the surface of the Sun. So it makes sense that being able to dig deeper into the Earth will be beneficial for tapping in to geothermal energy.
If it can be done at larger scale, it will have many other applications.
Let us answer two important aspects of this question.
How Do Geothermal Plants Actually Work?
Geothermal plants work by pumping relatively cold water 4-10km (kilometres) into the ground. By doing so, the water is warmed up, and hot steam is recovered at the surface.
In the most simple types of geothermal plants, the recovered steam is utilized to run a turbine.
However, if the region is around a dynamic structural zone, penetrating 4-10km wouldn’t be enough to make the water hot enough to generate the steam you need.
How far down do we have to drill down to get geothermal energy?
Geothermal energy is a subset of clean energy. Different companies today are extracting oil that is as deep as 5000 metres, where temperatures are as high as 170 degrees C. Drilling any deeper than this results in a range of engineering problems, both in terms of the drilling itself and materials.
How deep should a geothermal power plant be?
Most companies drill wells at least 1.9 to 6.2 miles (3 to 10 kilometers) into the rocks, using popular industrial grade oil drills.
The temperature down there measures some 160 degrees F to 600 degrees F (71 degrees C to 315 degrees C). The depth is deeper than that used in natural geothermal systems, but the temperature is about the same.
How Deep Is The Deepest Geothermal Well?
A group of expert geothermal researchers recently drilled the world’s deepest geothermal well in an active volcanic area – the HS Orka geothermal field in Iceland – reaching a depth of 4659 metres (2.89 miles or 4.65 kilometres).
How Deep Do We Need To Drill To Access Geothermal Heating or Energy?
We would need to dig trenches that are at least 4 feet (four feet) deep to be able to access geothermal heating.
In some of the most common techniques, two pipes are used. One pipe is placed at six feet into the Earth, and the other at four feet.
Alternatively, two pipes are placed side-by-side at five feet in the ground in a two-foot wide trench.
How Efficient Is Pumping Water Deep Into The Ground?
Considering efficiency, sometimes siphoning expanding measures of water 10 kilometers into the ground is taking up more energy than it is worth.
It must be noted that the use of geothermal heat pumps makes it viable at some level.
We may put some pipes 50 (fifty) feet into the ground to use them as thermal reservoirs in place of the ambient air.
After approximately 6 (six) feet, the ground temperature stays relatively constant year around.
You may then use the warm ground during the winters to heat up your house, conversely, you can use the cool ground to cool your house during the summers.
Secret of Geothermal Energy
One of the secrets of geothermal energy is the way that injection wells are used. Most types of geothermal plants inject water into the ground.
What Type of Location Is Necessary For Geothermal Plants
Typically, a location with porous hot rock is very favourable for the extraction of geothermal energy.
We can inject water into one “well” and get steam out of another.
Let’s not forget the importance of the cap rock. Without this non-porous layer the water will escape. Even with the cap some water still escapes. Geysers are used to “recharge” the overall system with sewage effluent.