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New research describes large geothermal potential in Wyoming, Nebraska and Colorado

Denver-Julesberg Basin (source: digforenergy.com )
Alexander Richter 12 Oct 2015

New research on the use of geophysical data in GIS for geothermal power prospecting, describes great geothermal potential for power generation in a sedimentary basin spanning the states of Wyoming, Nebraska and Colorado, U.S.

A recently published study in Geosphere, the scientific magazine of the Geological Society of America, presents “a new and inexpensive method using Geographic information system (GIS) and National Geothermal Data System data to evaluate a region for geothermal energy exploration.”

The authors of the article, Anna Crowell and Will Gosnold looked at what could help “geoscientists assess whether a sedimentary basin could be economically utilised for geothermal power production.”, so Eureka Alerts. They looked at several areas in the U.S. that one so far did not necessarily connected with geothermal potential. The looked at counties in “Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, and North Dakota where geothermal energy could be used for different energy production scenarios.”

“In particular, they find that the Denver-Julesberg Basin (which spans Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado, and has a surface area of approx. 155,000 square kilometers) has the highest capacity for large-scale, economically feasible geothermal power production. They write that, “assuming an adequate, sustainable water supply,” high-population areas west of Denver, near the depocenter of the basin and the Golden fault along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, are of greatest interest because costly infrastructure is already in place.”

This area has seen a lot of drilling, but for oil and gas. In drilling for oil and gas in this area, “For every barrel of oil or gas extracted, drillers generate seven barrels of hot water — water that could be used to produce geothermal energy.”, so the research.

The actual article: “Integrating geophysical data in GIS for geothermal power prospecting”, Anna Crowell and Will Gosnold, University of North Dakota, Harold Hamm School of Geology and Geological Engineering, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58202, USA.

This article is online at http://geosphere.gsapubs.org/content/early/2015/10/02/GES01161.1.abstract. Themed issue: Geothermal Energy from Sedimentary Basins: Challenges, Potential, and Ways Forward.

Source: Eureka Alert, UPI