Endothermic Power Collection
James Adrian
      Endothermic chemical reactions are driven by a source of heat that tends to separate atoms from each other. The resultant compounds have a greater fuel value than the compounds that were altered by the heat-driven endothermic reactions. This type of chemical reaction is useful in creating fuels. This method is not in general use for capturing geothermal energy or solar energy, but it should be.

      Currently, geothermal sites obtain power by sending water down to hot areas underground. Steam is collected and used to drive electric generators. This technique has a limitation: If the source of heat is very deep in the earth, the steam created would need to travel a great distance to reach the surface. During such a travel, much of the steam would condense or at least cool somewhat by passing cool rock on the way up.

      To reach and effectively utilize deeper heat sources, the endothermic method is needed in place of the steam method. A typical endothermic reaction uses a molecule composed of two or more kinds of atoms to obtain those atoms in gaseous form as a result of being heated. The potential energy of the separated materials is greater than the potential energy of the molecule sent down from the surface. The difference is due to the energy expended on the materials by the geothermal heat (molten rock). Apparatus that is present at the site of the reaction (deep in the earth), must be used to keep the products of the reaction separated so they can be used as fuel at any later time.

      Endothermic chemical reactions can be used to collect and store energy from any heat source, including heat collected from solar energy.