What does a geothermal engineer do?

Would you make a good geothermal engineer? Take our career test and find your match with over 800 careers.

Take the free career test Learn more about the career test

What is a Geothermal Engineer?

Geothermal energy is an increasingly popular and rapidly expanding technology. Geothermal engineers explore new ways to harness and use this technology by creating processes and equipment that convert thermal energy stored in the earth into electrical power.

Alternative energy sources such as geothermal have become even more important as we continue to push away from fossil fuels.

What does a Geothermal Engineer do?

Harnessing geothermal heat and power as a renewable energy source is the job of geothermal engineers. Geothermal engineers can obtain geothermal energy either by pumping cold water into a geothermal reservoir which allows the heat to turn the water into steam and return to the surface, or by getting it directly from the earth from natural geothermal reservoirs close to the surface.

A geothermal engineer monitoring equipment.

Geothermal energy can be used either directly or indirectly:

  • Directly - buildings and various other structures can use geothermal heat directly for their heating needs without pumps or power plants
  • Indirectly - geothermal heat can indirectly produce electricity and power a turbine from combining heat and water creating steam

By using the heat that naturally radiates below the earth's surface, and taking advantage of the fact that the temperature underground is always constant, geothermal technology can be used for both cooling in the summer and heating in the winter.

Geothermal engineers usually work in teams experimenting, analyzing, and developing geothermal technology and drilling techniques, monitoring reservoirs and energy fields, and diagnosing and resolving any problems that may arise.

Geothermal engineers may also assist in the construction of geothermal plants by choosing the appropriate equipment for the facility, as well as assuring compliance with appropriate building and operating standards. Other geothermal engineers have supervisory roles, providing leadership, direction, and long term plans to plant operations staff.

Geothermal engineers have distinct personalities. Think you might match up? Take the free career test to find out if geothermal engineer is one of your top career matches. Take the free test now Learn more about the career test

What is the workplace of a Geothermal Engineer like?

Geothermal engineers have daily interaction with other engineers, technicians, and technologists. Occasional meetings with energy policy planners may also take place. Geothermal engineers split their time between office, laboratory, project site, and industrial manufacturing settings.

Most engineers work a standard 40-hour week, but can expect occasional evening, weekend, and holiday work to meet pressing needs. Geothermal engineers may also travel extensively due to a shortage of experienced engineers.

Geothermal Engineers are also known as:
Energy Engineer Geothermal Power Engineer Renewable Energy Engineer Reservoir Engineer