It’s heating up down under

It’s heating up down under Melbourne skyline, Australia (Source: Donaldytong/ commons wikimedia)
Alexander Richter 17 Apr 2015

The R&D learning and project activities undertaken by the geothermal industry will be shared with the global community at the WGC 2015.

In 2015 the world’s geothermal community is meeting in Melbourne from April 20 to 24 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre for The International Geothermal Association’s (IGA’s) World Geothermal Congress 2015 (WGC2015).

The Australian geothermal energy sector has made an important contribution to global knowledge and experience. The R&D and project activities undertaken here will be shared with the global community. These include:

  • Learnings from the Geodynamics activities at Innamincka which include the development of the most productive Engineered Geothermal System drilled in the world;
  • Learnings from a number of other non-conventional geothermal projects across Australia;
  • Outputs from the research at the South Australian Centre for Geothermal Energy Research (SACGER) which include world leading understandings of the flow of fluid through deep rock structures under high stress and temperature regimes;
  • The learnings from research at Melbourne University’s School of Engineering into energy optimisation related to the performance of ground heat exchangers required in household and industrial scale installations; and
  • Considerations of new opportunities for geothermal energy applications and the policy mechanisms that are encouraging their uptake globally. Key global experts presenting their work at the Congress include:
  • Dr Juliet Newson, IGA President and Chief Geothermal Reservoir Modelling Engineer at Contact Energy, New Zealand
  • Professor Roland Horne, Professor Earth Sciences, Stanford University, California
  • Professor Martin Hand, Head SACGER, Adelaide University
  • Professor Ian Johnston, Professor of Geotechnical Engineering, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Heinz Holl, Chief Geologist, Geodynamics
  • Mr Philippe Dumas, Secretary General of the European Geothermal Energy Council
  • Mr Paul Brophy, President of the Geothermal Resources Council, USA
  • Dr Mike Mongillo, Executive Secretary, International Energy Agency—Geothermal
  • Dr Barry Goldstein, Executive Committee Co-Chairman, International Energy Agency— Geothermal and WGC2015 Organising Committee Chairman

Geothermal energy is the energy contained in the heat below the surface of the earth. It is increasingly being used around the world in processes that produce electricity in:

  • Conventional volcanic systems such as those in New Zealand, the west coast of the United States, Indonesia and The Philippines;
  • Engineered systems where the underground fracture systems have to be found and enhanced to enable fluid flow at high enough rates to produce electricity on a commercial basis; and
  • Hot Sedimentary Aquifer Systems where natural hot water can be produced from deep groundwater reservoirs.

And, the geothermal energy or the heat from within the ground at much shallower depths is also increasingly being used for a range of purposes from heating and cooling our homes and offices through to supplying higher value heat for large scale agricultural and industrial purposes.

The IGA is a global scientific, educational and cultural organisation which encourages research and the development and utilization of geothermal resources worldwide. It facilitates and supports the publication of scientific and technical information amongst the world’s geothermal specialists, the business community, governmental representatives, UN organisations and the general public and has more than 5,000 members in over 65 countries.

The IGA is a non-political, non-profit, non-governmental organization and its members come together from around the world every 5 years to exchange information on the latest research and development activities across the global sector.

The WGC2015 will be attended by around 2,000 of the world’s leading geothermal researchers and practitioners. The science supporting and underpinning the development of geothermal projects has important implications not only for the geothermal sector but also for earth sciences more generally, for understanding the earth’s crust and its behaviour and for the development of other forms of non-conventional energy such as tight gases.

The WGC is a very important event on the world’s science and energy futures calendar.

For information about the Congress including the program and key speakers and to arrange interviews please call Susan Jeanes on 0419833556.