IRETHERM: Ireland’s geothermal energy potential assessment project

IGA LECTURE

Dublin – Wednesday 7th May 2014

Prof. Alan Jones (DIAS) will present a lecture:

 IRETHERM: Ireland’s geothermal energy potential assessment project

Venue:

Dublin – GSI, Beggars Bush, Haddington Road, Dublin 2.

Time:

Wednesday May 7th – 6:00pm

Ireland has a strategic imperative to assess all prospective sources of sustainable energy. Of the available options, there is insufficient knowledge of Ireland’s potential for geothermal energy to provide district-scale space-heating and electricity generation. Both applications require identification, exploration and exploitation of deep, porous, permeable aquifers or large-volume, hot, radiogenic granitic intrusions or of hot waters brought to surface along fault systems. Advances in utilizing medium-temperature (110–150°C) groundwaters offer real opportunities for electricity generation within the upper range of geothermal gradients observed in Ireland (~25°C/km), provided deep (4–5 km) source regions can be identified.

IRETHERM is a four-and-a-half year, all-island, North-South, academic-government-industry collaborative project between DIAS, UCD, UCC, NUIG, GSI, GSNI, SLR Consulting, GT Energy and Providence Resources to develop a strategic and holistic understanding of Ireland’s geothermal energy potential through integrated modelling of new and existing geophysical and geological data. High-resolution geophysical modelling tools are being constructed for imaging aquifers and granitic bodies in the depth range 0–5 km. The new tools will be tested on “type” geothermal targets with a comprehensive program of electromagnetic field-surveys to identify those geological settings/localities that present the greatest opportunity for significant geothermal energy provision. New borehole temperature and heat-flow measurements and analyses of radiogenic element compositions of an island-wide suite of multi-depth crustal samples will be used to derive the first 3-D model of Irish crustal heat-production. Thermal variations modelled using these new crustal heat-production constraints with existing constraints on lithospheric structure will determine the origin of the regional variation in heat-flow and identify high-temperature anomalies at upper-crustal levels for immediate and future targeting.IRETHERM is funded by Science Foundation Ireland through a Principle Investigator grant to Professor Alan G. Jones of DIAS.

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