Geothermal energy is one of the most promising developments in the field of green energy. It relies on the heat inside the planet’s crust to heat water, which is then used to generate electricity. Like all technologies that rely on water, geothermal systems benefit from regular water treatment with a variety of additives. These additives can prevent several problems from developing with the geothermal system, and in the long term they will save a significant amount of money for the operators by reducing the need for expensive cleaning and repair procedures.
Most of the water that comes out of the ground is not completely pure. It usually contains a fairly high concentration of dissolved minerals. When the water passes through the geothermal power system, those minerals can form deposits on top of the mechanisms. The minerals can clog small pipes, jam moving parts of the system, and cause a variety of other problems that can reduce the system’s efficiency.
There are two ways to deal with the minerals. Some operators prefer to use mechanical methods to remove them, but there are a couple of problems with that approach. The system usually needs to be shut down to allow workers to conduct the cleaning, and the amount of labor that the cleaning takes makes it fairly expensive. Water additives that stop the mineral buildup from happening in the first place are much cheaper in the majority of cases, and they don’t stop the normal operation of the system.
Bacteria thrive in moist environments, even those that are exposed to high heat. Most bacteria are harmless, but a minority of them can cause corrosion by releasing damaging acids as part of their normal metabolic function. That corrosion is more than sufficient to destroy machinery, and it is very difficult to repair the damage once it starts to occur.
Water treatments can kill bacteria and other microbes before their populations get out of control. While some microbes are more resistant to the treatments than others, there are biocides that can eliminate almost any threat to the system without significant difficulty.
Both mineral buildup and microbes can reduce the efficiency of the system in the short term, but the real danger occurs over a longer period of time. If they are left unchecked, they can cause significant mechanical damage to a geothermal system. In some cases, the damage is enough to render the system completely nonfunctional, and the cost of repairing it is usually quite high. The water treatments that prevent those problems can also prevent the vast majority of damage to the system. In the long term, most operators can save a great deal of money by reducing their repair costs with water additives.