July 1, 2020

Team Profile:
In the Beginning & In the News
contributor(s)

photo credit:
Chris Sisarich

Funding for “Geothermal: The Next Generation” was announced in September 2019. This research programme is funded by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) through their Endeavour Fund, which has a focus on both research excellence and impact for New Zealand. The research contract started in October 2019 and runs for five years.

GNS Science, as the lead organisation, prepared a media release and the story was picked up by other organisations.

Check out the links below for more:

Below is the public statement that accompanied MBIE’s announcement of successful funding for 2019.

Geothermal: The Next Generation

New thinking in geothermal energy will help New Zealand reach its ambitious renewable targets. The government wants 100% renewables by 2035 and a ‘Net-Zero Emissions Economy’ by 2050. Solar, wind and conventional geothermal alone cannot reach this goal. The solution is deeper, supercritical geothermal.

Supercritical fluids have abundant energetic potential, because they can carry three times more heat and are lower density. In the next two decades, exploration must move towards hotter and deeper supercritical resources. Utilising New Zealand’s deep (>4 km) supercritical resources requires an innovative approach to identify suitable locations and their geochemical conditions.

This research programme will look at the next generation of geothermal resources. Building on more than a decade of research, this project will minimise exploration and technological risks by locating targeted areas and detailing heat transfer at significant depth. It will research interactions between New Zealand rocks and fluids at supercritical conditions, modelling system viability and delineating the potential of these resources. We aim to identify the best New Zealand targets by understanding the source, location and behaviour of supercritical resources. We will re-create at-depth interactions between supercritical fluid host rocks and re-injection brine and non-condensable gases.

A multi-disciplinary team of exceptional New Zealand and overseas geophysicists, geologists, experimental geochemists and modellers will work on the project, as well as economic and Māori strategic investment advisors. Stakeholder engagement is integral to this programme and it will opens doors to new investment opportunities far beyond the conventional geothermal industry. We will share these results with stakeholders so they can assess short- and long-term opportunities.

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