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The Use of Geothermal Energy at Large Scales and Its Benefits over Other Sources of Renewable Energy

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Case Studies and Programs to Improve Graduate Students' Skills

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

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Paper Authors


Fazil T. Najafi University of Florida

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Dr. Fazil T. Najafi

For many years, Dr. Fazil T. Najafi has worked in government, industry and education. He earned a BS, MS and PhD degrees from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia. His experience in industry includes work as a highway, structural, mechanical, and consultant engineer and construction manager for government and private companies. Najafi taught for many years at Villanova University, Pennsylvania, a visiting professor at George Mason University, and then to the University of Florida, Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering, where he is currently a professor in the Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure and Environment, Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering. He has received numerous awards including Fulbright cholarship awards, teaching awards, best paper awards, community service awards, and admission as an Eminent Engineer into Tau Beta Pi. His research on passive radon-resistant new residential building construction was adapted in HB1647 building code of Florida Legislature. Najafi is a member of numerous professional societies and has served on many committees and programs, and continuously attends and presents refereed papers at international, national, and local professional meetings and conferences. Lastly, Najafi attends courses, seminars and workshops, and has developed courses, videos and software packages during his career. His areas of specialization include transportation planning and management, legal aspects, construction contract administration, public works and renewable energy.

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Emily Rivera P.E. University of Florida

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Emily Rivera is a Civil Engineer with the US Army Corps of Engineers at the Washington Aqueduct in Washington, DC. She holds a BS Degree from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus and is pursuing a Master's Degree in Water Resources Planning and Management at the University of Florida.

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Ryan Thrun U.S. Navy

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Ryan Thrun, P.E., LEED AP BD+C

Ryan Thrun is a Civil Engineer with the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps. Thrun graduated from the University of Florida in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering before being commissioned as a Naval Officer later that year. He has been stationed at various military bases along the east coast and Afghanistan primarily managing large-scale construction projects. He has obtained his professional registration and LEED accreditation while stationed in Maryland. Thrun is currently pursuing a Master’s of Engineering degree at the University of Florida before relocating to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as the Facilities Engineering and Acquisition Division Director for the base. His areas of specialization include construction management, public works, and government acquisition & contract management.

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Sarah Isabel Romero University of Florida

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Currently a graduate student at University of Florida achieving a Masters in Environmental Engineering Sciences.

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As climate change becomes more of a reality, and as our non-renewable resources are depleting, finding "cleaner" renewable energy for our society is imperative. Our generation may not be significantly impacted, but future generations will suffer the consequences if measures to counter this issue are not taken. In an effort to reduce the consumption of non-renewable resources, we must explore and continue to develop renewable energy sources. Geothermal Energy is a clean and sustainable form of renewable energy that uses the heat stored in the Earth as its source of energy. Its first commercial uses dates back to the early 1800’s and has continued to grow throughout the years. One of its most common small scale uses, is as a heat source for residences. It can also be used at a much larger scale. There are several questions that come up with large scale geothermal energy model. How much energy can be produced? Can geothermal energy produce enough energy for a whole city, county, or country? What is the initial cost and lifelong cost of geothermal energy? Are there limitations in regards to geographic locations? The objective of this paper is to explore the viability of different large-scale uses of geothermal energy, and show it’s cost and availability benefits over other major sources of renewable energy. Through research and data of existing geothermal operations, geothermal energy proves to be a viable source of renewable energy and to have superior potential in large scale applications.

Najafi, F. T., & Rivera, E., & Thrun, R., & Romero, S. I. (2016, June), The Use of Geothermal Energy at Large Scales and Its Benefits over Other Sources of Renewable Energy Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27031

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