Comparing geothermal with petroleum drilling

The Differences between Geothermal and Petroleum, Chad Augustine, NREL (source: SMU)
Alexander Richter 7 Apr 2016

In a great blog post of the SMU Geothermal Lab, by Chad Augustine of NREL, a fantastic comparison is given between geothermal and petroleum drilling.

Chad Augustine, Geothermal Energy Engineer/Analyst with National Renewable Energy Laboratory, (NREL) has broken the code that explains the core differences between O&G and geothermal drilling.  The graphic below identifies the major misconceptions that cloud and confuse both sides from collaborating more than they currently do.


Although the goals of the petroleum and geothermal industry are the same – to extract energy from the subsurface – there are major differences that can make it difficult for them to communicate and collaborate. Often it seems like the industries are speaking two different languages. This is most true when the industries attempt to talk about temperatures and flow rates.

What is “hot” in the petroleum industry is low temperature for geothermal, and a “high flow rate” from a petroleum well could be an order of magnitude less than what is needed for commercial geothermal energy production.

A key to collaboration and to developing geothermal projects in petroleum settings is getting both sides to “speak the same language” when evaluating prospects and discussing the requirements for commercial electricity generation. After this, many of the same technologies and expertise used by the petroleum industry to produce oil and gas could be used to produce water for geothermal electricity generation.

Chad will be presenting this concept and more at the SMU Power Plays Conference on April 25-26, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. Don’t miss the opportunity to see this in person.  Register today!

Source: Blog of the SMU Geothermal Lab