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The History of Geothermal Energy

July 11, 2017

Geothermal, history geothermal, geothermal appearance

The first use of geothermal energy goes back to remote origins. It is nearly 20 000 years ago that the first practices are retraced. Industrial production, on the other hand, developed much later, since the last century. In this article, learn the complete history of geothermal energy, from its appearance to its Canadian operations today.

The First Uses of Thermal Springs

The volcanic regions were very early attractions because of the hot springs that people could easily use. 20,000 years ago, American Paleo-Indians used hot spring water to cook, bathe and clean. Throughout the development of civilizations, the practice of thermal baths was common, especially in Japan, America and Europe. These baths become places of meeting and exchange.

The Beginning of Geothermal Practice

In France, the first geothermal city heating was set up in the 14th century. The Romans also used it for heating.

Nevertheless, the use of geothermal energy for industrial purposes is much more recent, towards the beginning of the 18th century. In 1904, in the town of Lardello in Italy, geothermal energy was first used to produce electricity. Thanks to the electricity produced, 5 light bulbs had been switched on.

Then, in France, geothermal water is used instead to wash wool and hides. Even that it already had a monetary value since the lord levied a tax on all those whose water distribution network went to their house.

His Evolution

The first geothermal electric power plant that used steam to generate the power was invented by Piero Ginori Conti, an Italian scientist in 1904. In 1911, the first power station opens its doors in Italy, and it will be the only one for 50 years. The first successful plant in the United States opened during the 1960s. 

The popularity of geothermal energy increased significantly during the oil crisis of the 1970s as countries began exploring renewable energy sources that would offset the need for oil.  However, once energy prices returned to more affordable levels, the push for geothermal energy subsided. 

And in Canada...

As early as 1886, the Aboriginal people were using geothermal energy from hot springs. As the railroad was developed westward, the Canadian people discovered more hot springs that could be used. Hot water was piped from the springs to hotels and spas.

The Use of Geothermal Energy Today

Today, geothermal energy is gaining traction again. Geothermal heat pumps specifically have become an efficient way to reduce the heating and cooling costs. Today, geothermal energy has emerged as a popular energy source throughout Canada due to its significant benefits. As of 2013, there were more than 30,000 geothermal installations supplying heating and cooling properties to buildings across Canada. The largest installation is the Enwave District Heating Project, which uses water from Lake Ontario to cool over 100 buildings in Toronto. 

Canadian governments have supported geothermal energy on and off for over 100 years. The potential of the natural resources in Canada is tremendous. Companies, such as Plastech Plus Inc., can supply you with all necessary geothermal accessories, fittings, grouts, pipes and coils. Contact us today!

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