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Learning from Pohang – Solving geothermal energy’s earthquake challenge

Drilling rig on project site in Pohang/ South Korea (source: DESTRESS Project)
Alexander Richter 29 May 2019

A recent article published by Stanford University looks at EGS geothermal systems, the lessons learned from the earthquake connected to the Pohang geothermal project in South Korea and the future of EGS.

Following an earthquake of significant magnitude in Pohang, South Korea, studies and research pointed to activities of an EGS geothermal research project in the country.

A lot has been written about the earthquake and more than often enough, reporting was not really clear, writing about a “geothermal plant” having contributed to the event. In reality though, drilling and corresponding stimulation seems to be connected to the earthquake. There was no “plant” operating, rather drilling for the possibility of building a plant in the future.

In an article published by Stanford University in the United States, Stanford geophysicist William Ellsworth, pointed out that “There is no doubt. Usually we don’t say that in science, but in this case, the evidence is overwhelming.” Ellsworth is among a group of scientists, including Kang-Kun Lee of Seoul National University, who published a perspective piece May 24 in Science outlining lessons from Pohang’s failure.

In the article details are provided on how enhanced geothermal technology works, what lead to the earthquake in South Korea, and how the threat of earthquake for similar projects can be minimized and monitored.

For the full article click the link below.

Source: Stanford University/ Eureka Alert