Officially, Geothermal: The Next Generation began on 1 October 2019, which means we're nearing two years into this five year research programme. Of course, the research doesn’t start on day one — there is an establishment phase where the people and equipment comes together. And research is research: things often take longer that we predict, experiments fail, equipment breaks and personnel change. But we are well underway now, our team is together, and we expect 2022 to be a year of publishing results and sharing them with you.
Below are some highlights of activities and changes from the last year, by project:
Goal: searching for prospective locations for accessing supercritical fluids, and delineating potential resources in the Taupō Volcanic Zone (TVZ).
- Advances have been made in collating magnetic data, integrating topography into magnetotelluric modelling, and improving seismic attenuation codes.
- Data release agreements have been signed with geothermal operators to allow the research access to critical geoscientific data.
- The Explore project welcomed a new Project Manager, Craig Miller, and two PhD students (Laura Seelig and Thierry Solms) and Rutherford Post-Doctoral Fellow Shane Rooyakers commenced their studies with the GNG programme.
Goal: investigating chemical characteristics of supercritical fluids and their interactions with rocks and minerals under supercritical conditions.
- The high-temperature equipment was modified from a batch reactor into a flow-through reactor to allow better control and sampling of experiments.
- The first water-rock interaction experiments have been undertaken.
- Numerical models have been progressed, including improvements to geothermal reservoir models, thermodynamic properties databases, and reactive transport simulations.
Goal: translating supercritical research and forming an engaged stakeholder community.
- An international advisory group was established to peer-review the programme and connect us with international opportunities.
- Engagement with stakeholders explored why supercritical, with geothermal operators, government staff and Māori, through online communications, conference presentations and kanohi ki te kanohi (face-to-face meetings).
- A steering group was formed to guide development of a supercritical strategy for Aotearoa New Zealand and consultation began.
- A report was prepared on the current legislative framework for regulation of geothermal resources, as part of contributing to the development of new legislation.
Thank you for coming on this journey with us, and check back in to our website to find out more about our science and research findings.