2020 was a record-breaking year for the solar industry, exceeding previous sale and installation rates. Though the renewable energy industry is growing, geothermal sales remain consistent. Various factors contribute to the limited expansion of the geothermal sector.
The Importance of Geothermal Accessibility
Enhancing residential and commercial renewable energy accessibility is essential for greenhouse gas reduction. Geothermal heating and cooling significantly limit atmospheric air pollution, which causes climate alterations. However, most heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems rely on fossil fuels for power.
Fossil fuels generate greenhouse gases during combustion, interfering with the Earth’s organic temperature control process. The planet naturally absorbs sunlight, producing heat, sending it to the surface, and shrugging off excess warmth into space. When air pollutants invade the atmosphere, they compromise this life-sustaining balance.
Greenhouse gases convert sunlight to heat at a higher rate than naturally occurring atmospheric elements. They also hold heat in the environment longer than the conventional process, rather than releasing it to space. Over time, heat generation and entrapment raise the global temperature.
Geothermal systems provide a sustainable alternative to climate change-contributing HVAC devices. They use a ground-source pump, accessing subsurface temperature differentials. The system circulates a heat-conveying fluid through pipes hundreds of feet beneath the ground.
If a building is warm and needs air conditioning, the system can filter cool air up from the Earth. Similarly, it may access hot air from deep pipes in the winter. However, many potential clients opt out of geothermal installation because of the cold climate misconceptions.
Fortunately, geothermal system pipes rest below the frost line, limiting cold weather’s HVAC interference. As a result, the planet’s natural subsurface temperature variation remains consistent throughout the seasons, making it an optimal renewable energy system for all regions.
A significant limitation to expanding this particular renewable energy system is its high installation and maintenance costs. Fortunately, environmental scientists and engineers developed a sustainable solution.
A Sustainable Solution
3D printing can decrease the cost of geothermal HVAC systems and increase their accessibility. They also limit the environmental degradation associated with conventional manufacturing methods.
Solar-powered printers increase energy efficiency and limit degradation by 75% annually. Improving 3D systems’ reliance on renewable energy can significantly decrease their production and maintenance costs.
Solar is currently the cheapest energy source on the market. Therefore, fueling production with renewable power can also increase sales. In addition, the eco-consumer movement increases the demand for sustainable goods and services.
Over 62% of Generation Z consumers prioritize purchasing sustainably sourced products, and half of the Millennial generation follows this eco-conscious pattern. As a result, the geothermal industry can improve its sales and installation rates by meeting client demands.
3D printed devices are more sustainable than traditionally manufactured parts. Manufacturing facilities typically run on natural gas and coal, contributing to the enhanced greenhouse effect. They additionally generate water and soil pollution, degrading natural resources.
The American Made Challenge displayed environmental scientists’ and engineers’ abilities to create 3D geothermal enhancements and repairs. One individual developed a sophisticated 3D appliance that enhances performance potential.
3D printed high-temperature elastomers improve temperature transitions and increase cost efficiency. Other professionals generated computer programs for geothermal device repairs. The 3D technology can enhance and fix any metal system part.
President Biden plans on expanding all renewable energy sectors, including geothermal plants, as part of his Build Back Better policy. The plan allocates $2 trillion to clean energy infrastructure development and employment expansion. With the recent success of the solar industry, we can allocate more funds to geothermal research and development.
The Paris Agreement additionally increases our drive for national geothermal plant expansions. As a result, America can help keep the global temperature rise to within 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels using renewable devices.
Additionally, the government invested $18 million in geothermal energy research. A portion of the funding supports cost reduction advancement. We can meet our climate change prevention goals by expanding residential and commercial access to renewable energy sources.
Geothermal Energy’s Promising Future
As we conduct further research and technological advancements on geothermal systems, we can harness its power and meet our climate change prevention goals. Utilizing zero-emission HVAC systems can significantly shrink our nation’s carbon footprint. Over time, greenhouse gas reduction efforts will create a carbon-neutral infrastructure.