I realize that the molten core of the earth is deep. By now we must certainly have the ability to reach it on a global scale. Why, then, aren’t we and other countries tapping into this endless heat source as a means of finding and using free, clean energy?

31 Comments

  • If we extract too much energy from the core it may affect the earth magnetic field (generated by the molten core) which protects us from solar radiation in the long run.

  • As usual most people are over thinking the question, as Andy says why not dig /drill down only as far as we need to use the heat we can harness to boil water. I can’t imagine it is more expensive than building a nuclear reactor.
    Even if the cost were double, it would still make sense.
    Why not use the heat directly, instead of creating energy, why not use the heat to warm our homes and heat our water, that would rule out the need for expensive equipment

  • it is actually possible to do so and i think it will quench the need for more fossils fuels that are even ruining our planet. don’t forget that these fossils fuels may not be there in some years coming and no enough energy sources available now to replace them.heat from earth will be a better source of green energy that is long lasting and doesn’t fluctuate with seasons.the idea is simple all we need is better designs and unity.

  • We don’t even have to dig that deep to extract energy form our earths core. Most of use know that heated water is one of the main ways we make electricity, right. We burn Coal and use that as a heat source to heat water to some how make electricity, there more to it but what I’m getting at is that the deepest hole man made is the Kola Superdeep Borehole. And its 7.5 miles deep. the temperature is 356°F (180°C). And water boils at 212°F. so imagine making one 6 mile deep hole in the ground in almost every one big populated city. Yes it will be expensive but still, clean and unlimited amount of energy. But it will take a lot of water though.

    • Interesting idea, however the Kola Superdeep Borehole is only about 9 inches wide, and drilling took place from 1979-1992, as well as having estimated between 2-10 million dollars.. look at the size of a modern nuclear reactor. The coasts to drill, build, manage and time spent on geothermal plants rarely outweighs the cost of a nuclear plant. It’s a good idea, but much more complicated that simply drilling a hole.

  • Us Mere Humans wouldnt be able to drop the earth’s core temperature 1/100000000000 of a degree over the next hundred billion years if we were to use it. The amount of energy in the earth is endless in terms of human comprehension. The only keeping us from harnessing it is that current energy is much cheaper to produce. Also no one is saying that you have to go to the core or even to molten rock to produce steam to run a turbine. Only to about 500-700f, or about 2 to 3 miles down.

  • I have often thought the very same question. I think nearly everyone who has replied here missed the point… firstly, you don’t need to drill into the earths core only as far as it is hot enough to boil water, which is about 10-50 KM. Like in a nuclear reactor; heat is generated which is used to boil water, the resulting steam is then used to turn turbines to generate electricity…

    It is an endless source of energy unless you are planning living several billion years. Drilling down to the Lava level would not have any impact on the earth, it’s not like putting a pin into a balloon, more like placing a hair into a foam ball.

    So we have equipment that can drill the holes and stand up to temperatures over 100 degrees… the technology to turn geothermal energy into usable power exists and is already used in Iceland…

    I can image such an undertaking would be expensive but if the end result is clean, free, endless energy….

    I can imagine the oil companies aren’t too keen on the idea but they can’t stop everyone…

    Think I might start digging…..

  • Can you spell VOLCANO!

    We do not YET have materials that can take the heat and/or pressure to SAFELY tap the core, nor the mechanical knowledge to drill that deep.

    We have enough active volcanos NOW without drilling to make more if one gets away due to an error in drilling.

  • First, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to do so. Think of how deep the earth’s core is. The deepest hole does not even exceed the earth’s crust. There are several layers (all much thicker than the Earth’s crust) beside the earth’s crust to dig.

    Second, it would be very expensive: to start (hiring, planning, designing, etc.), to build(there is several thousand miles of earth to go) and to maintain (rusty pipes at sector 6, replacement needed).

    Third, we don’t have the technology to harness geothermal energy efficiently.

    Fourth, there is competition. There are many more easy ways of getting energy. Think of how easy it is to cut trees and use them for our fuel needs; than digging miles and miles of earth, building a geothermal generator and deal with its inconveniences.

    I say , it is impractical.

      • It is used because you pay for it. I pay for it, you used it simply to post on this article. The simple act of doing so is hypocritical. Don’t use any electrical devices to protest, or become an engineer.

  • have you watched The Core recently? ha, i think it would be a good idea in theory but in practice its probably ridiculously expensive and dangerous, if you think about it Volcanoes are outputs of the molten core yet no-one has tried to harness the energy from them so to dig down and make a man-made volcano would probably have too many unforeseen consequences. I think the big oil war thats going on is part of the reason as all the major oil companies are fighting hard to make sure they dont go out of business by making it hard for renewable resources to be easily accessed. I think i remember reading about cars that can run on vegetable oil for about 2pence per litre and how there was a big action/coverup by the big oil companies so that this would not become a reality until all their oil was bought and used up for obvious economic reasons.

  • Because it is molten…ie way too hot for our modern day technology to handle..there is no way we could capture it (think throwing an ant into a fire…the ant won’t come out with bits of fire, it’ll die).

    As well, it is not JUST heat, it is rock and as such, is not endless but makes up our planet (you wouldn’t eat your guts when hungry would you?)

    Finally, burning rock isn’t clean…if you have ever seen a volcano exploding, there are thick clouds of smoke sent up which include sulfur and other elements that are not healthy being sent into the environment.

    I agree we should be looking for clean, nearly endless sources of energy, but using our planet’s core is not the answer.

  • Believe it or not…..WE HAVE LIMITS…..In other words…we only can go up so high & down so far because quite frankly…..we didn’t create this place but the being that created this…..CREATED LIMITS….

  • because that is impossible. the earths core is so deep and so hot that thousands and thousands would die trying to accomplish that. not to mention it would compromise the structural integrity of the earth and cause a massive death hazard for every living human being?

  • Because we don’t have anyway of turning it in2 energy, & we r afraid we would use it up too often. BUT, we do use byproducts of it left as a resido in the mantle, but no, we don’t use it all the way from the earths core. P.S. It’s not an endless supply, it take 100s of years to make up the lava in the core.

  • In some places they are, sort of. In many places they tap into geothermal hotspots and use it to generate heat and power. But until we oil becomes too expensive (it’s not yet) or we get oil men out of the white house then the US is all about oil.

  • It isn’t endless for one thing. The earth’s core is slowly cooling down. If we used the heat for energy it will speed up the cooling process causing large problems for the earth possibly even the end of the world.

  • the machines that we have today melt when they are brought anywhere near the core. The temp. in the core is EXTREMELY HIGH!!

    • We aren’t exactly digging the earth to CORE and stuff.. if it’s just deep enough to reach parts with heat good… Which could be harnessed… It’ll be practical. Using the steam itself which is around 400°-600° C.. we can produce a lot of usable source of energy like Electricity.

  • Countries such as Iceland do use geothermal energy, but for them it is close to the surface…everywhere. Not so for most countries.

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