Geodynamics and Basin Studies

Assessing the potential for deep geothermal energy

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Funding: NFR-Renergi; 4 PhD’s and post docs

Duration 3 years, End date 01.01.2013

Deep geothermal resources provide an enormous potential for emission-free energy and are already today a significant contributor among the renewable energy resources. Traditional use of geothermal energy has been limited to particular regions, but the resource is available worldwide, although scientific and technical solutions are at crux of making the resource exploitable. Accurate modelling capabilities, and educated human resources, are prerequisites for the deployment of deep geothermal energy extraction in a commercial setting. The main objective of this proposal is to develop capability to assess the energy extraction potential of a deep geothermal site. To achieve this, we develop and apply a comprehensive quantitative understanding of the mathematics and physics of geothermal energy mining associated with deep wells, both for open-loop and closed-loop systems. Our primary aim is be to develop simulation technology (building on our simulation expertise in collaboration with the Center for Integrated Petroleum Research), as well as fundamental analysis associated with heat disequilibrium and radial convective mixing phenomena, which may be introduced by significant energy extraction. Looking further, the project aims at quantitative understanding of the dominant processes of the fully coupled physical system, including forced convection in the geological formation and coupling to geological processes.

Researchers working on this project:

Prof. Ritske Huismans

Magnus Loberg

Dr Inga Berre (Dep. Mathematics, UiB)

Prof. Yuri Podladchikov (Lausanne University)

Dr Nina Simon (IFE-Oslo)