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Enhanced Geothermal Systems

U.S. Department of Energy

This animation illustrates how heat energy from deep in Earth can be utilized to generate electricity at a large scale.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Humans can take action
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Humans can take action

Energy Literacy

The energy of a system or object that results in its temperature is called thermal energy.
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1.2 Thermal energy.
Humans transfer and transform energy from the environment into forms useful for human endeavors.
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4.1 Humans transfer and transform energy.
Different sources of energy and the different ways energy can be transformed, transported and stored each have different benefits and drawbacks.
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4.7 Different sources of energy have different benefits and drawbacks.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Energy from the sun (and the wind and water energy derived from it) is available indefinitely. Because the transfer of energy from these resources is weak and variable, systems are needed to collect and concentrate the energy.
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Some resources are not renewable or renew very slowly. Fuels already accumulated in the earth, for instance, will become more difficult to obtain as the most readily available resources run out. How long the resources will last, however, is difficult to predict. The ultimate limit may be the prohibitive cost of obtaining them.
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Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • The animation includes geothermal maps, publications, glossary, and a printable text version of animation.
  • Animation is useful as an introduction.
  • Animation could be used as an assessment - ask students what info is missing in this resource.

About the Science

  • Fundamental science and engineering concepts are alluded to broadly in the animation without details. Seismic imaging, for example, is mentioned but not explained. The vast heat energy available deep in Earth is a key point, but there is no explanation given about how that heat is generated. Some additional guidance from educator is necessary.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • There is a lot of jargon used related to geothermal energy. Supporting materials are offered from the glossary and text version of how enhanced geothermal systems work.
  • Maps and other multimedia also provided.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • An embedded animation explaining how geothermal energy resources are created starts immediately upon opening the page. The animation repeats continually, which can become distracting.

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