Welcome to my Physics 212 website on Geothermal Energy
My website covers many physical and economical and historical
aspects on the topic of
geothermal energy. In viewing my site I hope everyone has the
opportunity to learn about all the fascinating possiblitities that
geothermal energy has to offer.
Geothermal energy has been used for thousands of years. The Chinese
were the first to discover a pool that was fed by a hot spring in 300
BC. The Romans were the next civilization to utilize thermal springs in
intuative ways. They used the springs to heat their public baths as
well as the floors in their homes. The first heating system in Boise
Idaho was powered by geothermal energy in 1892. The systems were also
used to heat greenhouses in both Idaho, Iceland, and Tuscany. The world
started to focus on even more applications of geothermal energy and by
1852 Lord Kelvin had invented the heat pump which could convert thermal
energy into mechanical energy. Over the years the heat pump was refined
and perfected and the first commercial use of a geothermal heat pump
was in the Commonwealth Building in Portland Oregon were it was used to
heat and cool the building. The technology became more and more popular
over the years espescially during the 1973 oil crisis. The invention of
polybutylene pipe in 1979 greatly increased the power sources economic
feasibility since it was the first cheap flexible pipe that could be
for applications such as geothermal systems.
Image of the first geothermal power plant in Italy, 1904.