Historical Geothermal Energy Facts

Geothermal energy facts are important to know, and understand.  In today world, most countries are turning to alternative energy as a means of getting away from coal and oil.

Historically gethermal energy has been used in many different ways.  The historical facts below are a interesting look at how long humans have been using geothermal to power their lives.

Here is a list of important historical geothermal energy facts:

  • Humans have taken advantage of geothermal heat since the Paleolithic era
  • The oldest known spa is a stone pool on China’s Lisan Mountain built in the Qin dynasty in the 3rd century BC
  • In the first century AD, Romans used the hot springs to create public baths and under floor heating
  • The admission fees for these baths probably represent the first commercial use of geothermal power
  • The world's oldest geothermal district heating system is located in Chaudes-Aigues, France and has been operating since the 14th century
  • The earliest industrial exploitation began in 1827 with the use of geyser steam to extract boric acid from volcanic mud in Larderello, Italy
  • In 1892, America's first district heating system in Boise, Idaho was powered directly by geothermal energy, and was copied in Klamath Falls, Oregon in 1900
  • A deep geothermal well was used to heat greenhouses in Boise in 1926, and geysers were used to heat greenhouses in Iceland and Tuscany at about the same time
  • Charlie Lieb developed the first down hole heat exchanger in 1930 to heat his house
  • Steam and hot water from geysers began heating homes in Iceland starting in 1943
  • In the 20th century, demand for electricity led to the consideration of geothermal power as a generating source
  • Prince Piero Ginori Conti tested the first geothermal power generator on in 1904, at the same Larderello dry steam field where geothermal acid extraction began
  • Later, in 1911, the world's first commercial geothermal power plant was built there. It was the world's only industrial producer of geothermal electricity until New Zealand built a plant in 1958
  • Lord Kelvin invented the heat pump in 1852, and Heinrich Zoelly had patented the idea of using it to draw heat from the ground in 1912
  • But it was not until the late 1940s that the geothermal heat pump was successfully implemented
  • The earliest one was probably Robert C. Webber's home-made 2.2 kW direct-exchange systems, but sources disagree as to the exact timeline of his invention
  • J. Donald Kroeker designed the first commercial geothermal heat pump to heat the Commonwealth Building (Portland, Oregon) and demonstrated it in 1946
  • Professor Carl Nielsen of Ohio State University built the first residential open loop version in his home in 1948
  • The technology became popular in Sweden as a result of the 1973 oil crisis, and has been growing slowly in worldwide acceptance since then
  • The 1979 development of polybutylene pipe greatly augmented the heat pump’s economic viability
  • In 1960, Pacific Gas and Electric began operation of the first successful geothermal electric power plant in the United States at The Geysers in California
  • The binary cycle power plant was first demonstrated in 1967 in the U.S.S.R. and later introduced to the U.S. in 1981
  • In 2006 binary cycle plant in Chena Hot Springs, Alaska came on-line, producing electricity from a record low fluid temperature of 135 °F

Related Articles:

Geothermal Energy Facts

Geothermal Energy Facts About Iceland

How Geothermal Energy Works

Home Geothermal Energy

3 Benefits of Installing a Geothermal Heating System in Your Home


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