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Could a career in Geothermal engineering be for you?

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 25 Sep 2020

Geothermal Hero Image

Are you looking at getting a new job in a more sustainable area of engineering? If so, a career in geothermal engineering might be a good idea for you. There have been recent projects using geothermal engineering that prove a success, showing that there is a need for more engineers in this sector. Like other types of engineering, you can learn along the way. You don’t necessarily have to be fully knowledgeable on this sector, you will have skills that will transfer nicely to a role in any sector! So why should you look into geothermal engineering?

What is geothermal engineering?

Geothermal refers to the natural heat sources that we can tap into inside the earth. Geothermal engineering is about accessing that natural heat and harness that to produce energy we can use in our everyday lives. It’s a sustainable source of energy, engineers take heat that is already there. They are not using any kind of harmful techniques to collect this heat. There is a constant supply of heat being generated inside the earth, so when you think about it, we won’t run out of this type of energy.

Geothermal is reliable because there will always be a source. It’s said that this form of energy has the smallest land footprint of any other source of energy and thanks to a grow in interest, new technologies and ideas are making this type of energy available in new places!

What does a geothermal engineer do?

A geothermal engineer doesn’t just do one thing. Like other forms of engineering, there are countless roles that you could be doing. Some geothermal engineers will explore new ways to harness this technology and work on creating and designing new equipment. Then there will be the engineers that use said equipment and use it to actually obtain the energy. You would need engineers to be able to build and fix equipment when needed, you would need engineers to work with analytics, the list is endless and just like other sectors, there can be something for everyone.

What is this energy used for?

This form of energy, much like any other form can be put to many uses. This energy is used to generate electricity, heat or cool buildings as needed and even used in food preparation. Geothermal energy is being used to dry fruits and vegetables as well as pasteurising milk. Not only this, but it is also being used in spas and swimming pools!

The latest example of how geothermal energy is being used in the UK is an outdoor swimming pool that has opened in the town of Penzance in Cornwall. Cornwall is a lovely place for UK tourists to have their staycation but isn’t exactly known for its warm sea! This pool has been used since 1935 but opened as a geothermal pool in August this year. Engineers have said that it’s the first outside pool in the UK to showcase geothermal, low carbon heat supply.

“The process for warming the pool in Penzance is multi-layered. According to the team behind the project, the heating works by extracting warm water from a geothermal well, then transferring that heat to the pool before "re-injecting the cooler water back into the ground". – BBC; 28 Aug. 2020

This is just one of the success stories from the UK. The more understanding this kind of sustainable energy has and the more places it is used, hopefully the more demand the sector will have. It’s always worth looking into upcoming sources of renewable energy, you could be working on the team of a successful project like the Penzance swimming pool!