UNR with new approach helps find hidden geothermal resources in Nevada

Drilling as part of play fairway method (source: University of Nevada, Reno)
Alexander Richter 22 May 2019

The University of Nevada, Reno discovered two geothermal systems in the Great Basin in Nevada using a previously untried method for finding unknown, hidden geothermal resources.

In an article shared by the University of Nevada, Reno, it is reported that the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, a public service unit in the College of Science at the school, has had two successful discoveries of geothermal systems in the Great Basin using a previously untried method for finding unknown, hidden geothermal resources.

Both discovered systems are blind – meaning there are no surface indications of hot water – and there had been no exploration previously in one of these areas and only minor previous exploration in the other. Geologists at the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology at the University of Nevada, Reno, used a number of other surface and subsurface clues in their methodology developed as part of their Department of Energy funded Play Fairway project that has been underway since 2014.

“The exploration, the mapping, the analysis, all led us to the top two spots – of perhaps hundreds of potential sites – to drill geothermal wells,” Jim Faulds, director of the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, said. “Success at two sites provides an initial validation of the methodology we developed, and opens up new possibilities for power generation sites by the industry.”

The third and final phase of the project involved temperature-gradient drilling generally to approximately 500 foot depths. Data from all three phases of the project has been analyzed and will help guide industry to the most favorable sites to generate renewable energy in the large study area, which covers about one-third of the state of Nevada. Measurements from the new geothermal wells have been completed, the wells capped and waiting for industry to step in. Now that these blind geothermal systems have been discovered, it’s up to the geothermal industry to conduct additional drilling for possible development of a geothermal power plant.

New Geothermal Systems Ready for Industry

“It’s gratifying to demonstrate positive results of applied science here at the Bureau,” Faulds said. “After several years of research, mapping and analysis, we’ve identified many promising areas that have great potential for geothermal power. Funds only allowed for test drilling at two sites, but there are dozens of other promising sites that I’m excited about across the region. The two sites, one in southeastern Gabbs Valley and the other in at northern Granite Springs Valley, are now ready for industry to decide on their economic viability.”

Fore more details on the work, see link below.

Source: University of Nevada, Reno