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Using Geothermal Heat Directly
The Value of Heat
The benefits of geothermal energy do not stop at clean power. Geothermal energy is the only renewable resource that can provide baseload, or constant, heat. In Canada, where more than 60% of the country's energy needs are used for heating (space and water), geothermal energy can play a major role in dispatching clean, baseload heat on a utility scale.
How Direct Use Works
Hot brines in rocks deep underground is pumped to surface from a production well.
The thermal energy from the brine is pumped through a heat exchanger to transfer the thermal energy to other applications. One application can be a district heat network, which transports thermal energy to neighbouring facilities.
After useful work is complete, the geothermal brine is reintroduced underground through an injection well, where it will heat up again over time.
Geothermal energy’s best-kept secret is that the sources with temperatures ranging from 40°C to 100°C, which are not efficient for electrical production, are perfectly suited to provide constant, emission-free heat on a utility scale, supporting industries like tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing.
Direct Heat Uses Cascade Pathways
Geothermal direct-use can support industries that require high amounts of heat. In Alberta, this can include greenhouses and composting facilities, lumber drying, and pasteurization of agricultural and food products. Currently, the heat generated from the Alberta No. 1 geothermal project will be provided to several light industrial facilities, including wood manufacturing and sustainable agriculture.
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