Ecowatt Blog

The Basics of Geothermal Energy Production

As you know, here at Ecowatt we’re passionate about alternative energy sources. Since the invention of the combustion engine and subsequent dawn of the Industrial Age, mankind’s primary source of energy has been via the burning of fossil fuels – generally in the form of coal. The burning of these fuels are by far and away the leading driver of climate change due to the carbon they release in the combustion process. 

If we are to prevent the Earth from warming to disastrous transformative temperatures, we need to switch to alternative energy sources immediately! One of those alternatives being increasingly examined is “Geothermal Energy”. You may well have heard the term, but many people are unsure about its exact mechanism and where it even comes from. 

Considering Geothermal Energy is one of the keys to fighting off climate change, it’s imperative that we understand exactly what it is and how it works, so in this post we’re going to run through the ins and outs of one of Earth’s most natural and abundant sources of energy.

What Is It?

Geothermal energy is essentially the perpetual generation of heat and energy via a process known as “nuclear fusion”. In a similar way to how the sun burns perpetually, Earth’s core is burning through minerals and elements at extreme temperatures, and causing reactions similar to that of the Sun’s “nuclear fusion”.

While the fusion at Earth’s core and other planets is on a much smaller scale than what is happening on the Sun, the principle is the same. The process is known as “radioactive decay”, and is a continual process that started when Earth was formed more than 4 billion years ago via various frictional and gravitational forces. This radioactive decay is caused by elements such as Potassium-40 decaying, which in turn causes the Potassium’s nucleus to change, emitting massive amounts of energy known as radiation.

This process happening at Earth’s centre creates substantial heat (5,000˚ celsius) and radiates outward through the entire planet. The heat dissipates as it gets closer to the surface, losing approximately 25˚C per kilometre, but in some parts of Earth such as deep tunnels, caves, trenches and cavities, that heat escapes causing unusually warm conditions.

These conditions are mostly created by extremely hot pockets of “magma” deep in Earth’s crust. Magma is liquid rock (too hot to be solid) formed 60 kms below the surface, which escapes into chambers closer to the exterior. At 1500˚C, these magma chambers warm up nearby rocks or underground aquifers (pockets of water), and in turn expel hot water in the form of geysers, mud pots, hot springs, and steam vents – many of which are popular tourist sites around the world.

Some of the more famous sites include the monkey-inhabited Jigokudani hot spring in Japan, the enormous Blue Lagoon in Iceland, and quite possibly the most prominent of all: “Old Faithful” in Yellowstone National Park, California, erupting boiling hot water on average every 92 minutes. 

These sites create perfect opportunities for energy engineers to capture and use for the sake of generating electricity. Of course, electricity is generated by heat, and all forms of electrical generation use various fuels to create heat – whether that be burning coal, oil, nuclear devices or even solar power.

If, however, you can access heat directly from Earth’s core, you cut out that middle process of trying to generate your own warmth! And this is exactly what geothermal energy offers.

Electrical architects have developed numerous forms of heat extraction from these various geothermal sites, and simply convert the heat into electricity via the standard process of “electromechanical generation”.

Famous Noboribetsu hot springs, Hokkaido, Japan

Why Is It So Important ?

Geothermal Energy is such a critical player in the fight against climate change because it is, in essence, “free energy”. We, as humans, do not need to burn anything at all in order to generate the heat, we simply need to harvest the heat that is already there.

This heat being emitted from the Earth’s core is a process that has been occurring for over 4 billion years, and is estimated to continue doing so for another 91 billion years! This heat escapes in a myriad of forms all over the globe, and is effectively “unlimited”, the only limit we have is accessing it. Tapping into geothermal energy requires all kinds of digging, mining, construction and engineering, and sometimes governments are disincentivized from pursuing it because it is quite simply cheaper to build a coal power plant than to engineer a geothermal one.

Geyser in Armenia Nagorno Karabakha

The Race Is On

This however is changing, and as the planet races to find solutions to our carbon crisis, politicians are increasing their allocation of financial resources to geothermal technologies. Rather than continue burning copious tons of coal and converting it to CO2-saturated smoke, it makes more sense than ever to simply tap into the heat already waiting to be accessed in millions of locations around the world under the Earth’s surface.

Ecowatt  is actively sourcing geothermal projects, starting with a 75 MW project in Turkey. We hope to increase our geothermal portfolio, and believe this energy source is a critical solution in the global climate change crisis!


National Geographic Geothermal Report:

Magma heat:

Earth’s Core: 

Geothermal availability:

Ecowatt Blog

What Is The Green House Effect

There are so many terms associated with climate change that it is becoming difficult to keep track! The confusion is so rife that it is even providing fuel for climate change deniers. How can the confusion of climate change terminology be used as ammunition for naysayers? Take this prime example:

These deniers refute the existence of “climate change” by using evidence of out-of-the-ordinary cold snaps and extreme cold weather patterns. Their reason for this refutation? They have heard the term “global warming” used so regularly that they cannot comprehend that the phenomenon would bring extremely cold weather.

“How can global warming exist when this has been the coldest Winter on record?” they quip.

It’s a sad reality that many people just do not understand the basics of weather patterns and systems, and how Earth’s climate biome operates. But it’s also important to consider that with so many moving parts involved in Earth’s climate, accurate communication is imperative.
So, as a company passionate about helping planet Earth fight the onslaught of warming temperatures, we want to help bring some clarity to this specific instance. To do so, we need to examine the effect known as “The Greenhouse Effect”.

What is it?

The Greenhouse Effect is exactly why we as a species are faced with the overwhelming challenge of “global warming”, but more specifically, why our global climate is changing (hence: climate change – the more accurate term in our international fight).

Example: Your Car On A Hot Day

Have you ever got back to your car after an hour or two shopping at the local grocery store on a sunny day, and found it just too hot to climb into? Especially when you’ve left all of the windows closed!

In many instances, the steering wheel is too hot to even touch, and god help you if you have black leather seats! The best thing to do is to open all the windows to allow the hot air to be released before even entering. This is in essence the simplest way to understand the “Greenhouse Effect”.

The overwhelming heat energy of the sun enters the car’s windows, heating up the car’s interior, but the closed windows don’t allow that heat energy to escape. The sun’s energy is a form of radiation, and can enter the car’s windows easily, but the heat that this energy creates cannot return out of those windows.

This is known as the greenhouse effect because of the famed gardening tool known as a “greenhouse”. (They’re called greenhouses because they produce beautifully green plants and flowers). A greenhouse is used when farmers or gardeners need more heat and humidity than is naturally available in the area where they live. The house absorbs the sun’s radiation, heating up the interior, but the sealed off house of panels or transparent canvas prevents that heat from escaping – creating the perfect environment for plants that need warmer temperatures. Greenhouses work especially well in colder regions of the world, even in Winter. As long as there is sun, greenhouses can be incredibly effective for gardeners.

Hopefully by now you’re starting to understand this phenomenon in relation to Earth’s entire climate?

Applied To Earth

The Earth’s atmosphere is about 100 km thick, which in the grand scale of the planet is thinner than the skin of an apple! This atmosphere is made up of a number of layers, and the lowest one, the Troposphere (at 16 kms from Earth’s surface), is the layer where most of Earth’s heat gets recycled and can’t escape.

Now, of course, Earth has had an atmosphere for millions of years trapping heat inside it and creating the perfect climate for life. But it is only in the modern age that this atmosphere has started to change, causing the climate to shift in catastrophic ways.

Standard gases in the atmosphere like water vapour and certain amounts of carbon create a layer that prevents Earth’s heat from escaping. But since the industrial age, humans have been releasing overwhelming amounts of additional carbon (in the form of carbon dioxide) into this atmosphere, causing much less heat to escape than normal.

Mankind has released almost double the amount of carbon into the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial age, increasing it from 280 ppm (particles per million) to 421 ppm at the last reading. This carbon, trapped within the Troposphere, makes for an even “thicker” layer of glass (remember the car example) that lets far less heat out than ever before.

In addition to this, the carbon itself warms up from the Sun’s radiation, and the more carbon there is, the warmer the Earth’s temperature will get. 

This is, in its simplest form, the Greenhouse Effect. And while there are some nuances to the science, this is where we get the term “global warming”. This effect has been increasing the Earth’s surface temperature for the last 150 years. But this “warming” effect causes extreme heat and cold. This is because increased heat increases the evaporation of the Earth’s oceans, and thus causes stronger cloud systems, which in turn create stronger cold fronts, snow storms, hurricanes etc. (Of course, in other parts of the world, where there is less water vapour in the region, the land gets parched, and we get drought and heat waves.)

What We Can Do About It: Green Energy Sources

It is for this very reason that we at Ecowatt are so adamant about turning back the climate clock! Mankind not only needs to drastically reduce the amount of carbon it is emitting into the atmosphere, it also needs to absorb the already emitted carbon.

The first step is to indeed cut back on carbon emissions. We simply cannot allow there to be much more carbon released into the atmosphere! The easiest way to do that is to transition to green energy, a subject we at Ecowatt are passionate about.

We have decades of experience in manufacturing and engineering renewable energy plants, from solar to wind, even to waste product bio-energy. We are actively working in the likes of Hungary, Turkey, Romania among others to produce some of the most effective green energy solutions available. These plants currently produce over 350 Megawatts of electricity, all generated entirely by energy naturally available on planet earth, without any combustion or burning required.

What We Can Do About It: Carbon Credits

In addition to dramatically decreasing the amount of carbon in our atmosphere, quite possibly even more crucial is the technology of absorbing carbon already there. As mentioned numerous times here on the Ecowatt blog, this is known as “carbon capture”, and there are a number of ways of doing so.

The easiest way to do it, and one that we are actively pursuing in many regions globally, is to simply plant more trees! As widely understood, trees absorb remarkable amounts of CO2, and are critical in our fight against climate change. 

Part of the reason we have lost the climate change battle in recent years is because of our horrifying deforestation work around the globe. To keep up with paper and mineral needs, forests have been cut down at alarming rates, and these were literally the “lungs” of our planet. These forests must be replaced in order to get back to a healthy equilibrium on Earth.

Reforestation and afforestation are two forms of carbon capture work that we are pursuing. Reforestation is the replanting of large tree forests which had been cut down and not replaced. Afforestation is the identification of new land and planting new forests where none had existed before. 

If ever there was a time to invest in the future of our home, it was now.


Greenhouse Effect:


Earth’s atmosphere:

Earth’s CO2: