To provide sustainable, low-carbon energy for future generations, exploration of the Earth’s energy must move towards hotter and deeper supercritical heat reserves (4 km to 10 km). Our research will find and characterise New Zealand’s supercritical resources (supercritical is not magma!), in support of future exploration, drilling and technology development.
We are using specialist techniques to explore the subsurface and understand the interactions between New Zealand’s rocks and fluids under supercritical conditions. We will explore the sources, locations and behaviour of these superheated fluids, and determine the heat and energy potential available for use.
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To find the most prospective location(s) for accessing supercritical fluids and delineate potential resources in the Taupō Volcanic Zone (TVZ).
Optimal supercritical conditions are found where magmatic heat encounters buried, permeable structures above the ductile region.
Where are the optimal drilling targets for New Zealand’s next generation of renewable geothermal energy?
To investigate the chemical characteristics of supercritical fluids and their interactions with rocks and minerals under supercritical conditions.
Magmatic fluids and water-rock interactions in the supercritical domain are vastly different to conventional geothermal resources (thus limiting their discovery and utilisation under current technologies).
How do supercritical fluids behave within the unknown/undrilled crust?
To translate supercritical research and form an engaged stakeholder community.
A robust understanding of the supercritical opportunity and challenges will focus on de-risking future investment and accelerating technology deployment in New Zealand.
What is the best practise for delivering knowledge to our stakeholders?