What is geothermal?

Geothermal energy production
Geothermal power uses underground water and steam which has been super-heated by volcanic activity to produce electricity.

Geothermal power production uses the heat from deep in the ground to provide a clean, reliable source of energy.  The high temperatures found deep in the earth's core are believed to be from heat left over from when the earth was formed.  These temperatures are transferred closer to the surface by volcanic activity.

Existing geothermal power production has confirmed these conditions in the Great Rift Valley.  Here, the earth's crust is relatively thin and volcanoes have formed as a result of the rift process, where the crust is being pulled apart by tectonic forces.  Volcanoes are formed where hot magma pushes up through the earth's crust. Over thousands of years, successive eruptions form the volcano’s distinctive cone shape.

Water in the ground beneath the volcano becomes very hot and forms a reservoir of geothermal fluid, trapped at high pressure. With high pressure, steam can form.  Minerals surrounding the geothermal fluid can become dissolved, adding salts to the fluid, which is why it is often referred to as brine.

The geothermal fluids are pumped to a power plant, where steam is separated from the brine fluids.  The steam is passed through turbines that turn generators which produce the electricity.  The electricity is exported to the electricity network and supplied to Kenyan homes and businesses.

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