Geothermal Power Plants & CO2 Emissions

That "air" isn't clean
The hot air from the geothermal plants contains hydrogen sulfide (H2S), the gas that always gives an odor to hydrothermal vents.  However, the H2S is removed and sold on the open market for use in producing sulfuric acid.

Somewhat surprisingly, the hot air that carries the heat from the earth at geothermal sites also contains carbon dioxide, CO2, the Greenhouse Gas that sends anti-technologists into a frenzy.  The suite of 20 geothermal sites from which Southern California Electric is obligated to buy electricity produces 730 tonnes of CO2 for every gigawatt-hour (GWh) of electricity produced. 

Across the spectrum of all natural-gas power plants in the US, the average CO2 production is 519 tonnes per GWh.  That is, the geothermal power plants, which burn no fossil fuels whatsoever, produce 41% more CO2 than the run-of-the-mill natural gas power plant for the same amount of electrical energy produced.


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