February 8, 2021

Team Profile:
Warwick Kissling

photo credit:
Eylem Kaya

1.     Why are you involved in geothermal / supercritical research?

A combination of lots of things – interest in volcanoes (and stars!) when I was young, a certain talent for mathematics, and enjoyment of modelling physical systems of all types. Two recent examples are the development of new thermodynamic code to model supercritical geothermal resources. I had to do this because there was nothing else available to do the job…

2.     What is the favourite part of your work?

Certainly, the problem-solving aspect – there are ALWAYS problems to solve!! Some take 5 minutes, and some a year.  And of courseI have many nice colleagues!

3.     What is the publication you’re most proud of?

The beginning of supercritical modelling with a ‘whole of TVZ’ fluid and heat flow model, which was half of my PhD thesis.

Kissling, W.M. and Weir, G.J. The spatial distribution of the geothermal fields in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand. Journal of Volcanology andGeothermal Research. Volume 145, Issues 1–2, 15 July 2005, Pages 136-150. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2005.01.006

What was the research finding?

The main finding was showing that the locations of the TVZ geothermal fields could be explained by an interaction of large-scale convective flows with the decrease in permeability which occurs as you move from inside the rift (permeable volcanic rocks) to outside the rift (low permeability ‘basement-type’ rocks ).

Why is it important?

This is important because it gave the first ‘broad brush’ glimpse of how the TVZ geothermal systems occur, and what they might look like below the depths which geophysical techniques could probe. This has implications for the long-term sustainability of geothermal electricity generation, which cannot be properly addressed without understanding the ‘very deep and hot’ parts of the geothermal systems.

4. What is your favourite photo of you doing research?

Mostly I work in the office, so here is a photo from my travels last year. It is taken above the ‘double town’ of Garmish-Partenkirchen in the German Alps. The highest peak, slightly left of centre, is the Zugspitze, the highest peak in Germany.

Read more about Warwick's experience here.

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numerical modelling

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