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Australian radiogenic granite and sedimentary basin geothermal hot rock potential map

The hot rock geothermal model in the Australian context comprises high-heat producing granites overlain by thick accumulations of low-thermal conductivity sediments. The granites have low concentrations of radiogenic elements, and over hundreds of millions of years, these elements decay and produce heat. The passage of this heat to the Earth's surface via upwards conduction is slowed by layers of sediments that have low thermal conductivity, creating 'hot spots' beneath the blankets. This thematic map shows granites attributed by heat production and basin depth. The majority of the granites depicted are of surface outcrop. The presence of high-heat producing granites adjacent to deep sedimentary basins may be used as a first-order indicator of where to further investigate the possibility of hot rock geothermal plays. The main frame of the map shows all granites (attributed by calculated heat production - where available), sedimentary basins (and their order e.g. where one basin is overlapped by another) and geothermal licences and applications. The top right inset map shows only those granites with a calculated radiogenic heat generation of >5 uW -3, with the depth of the sedimentary basins. This map provides a rapid view of areas that may be expected to have the greatest hot rock potential. The second-from-top inset map shows all suitable geochemical analyses from OZCHEM, attributed by calculated radiogenic heat generation. This shows both the distribution of data that goes into attributing the granite polygons, and also analyses of granites (and other rocks) that fall outside the mapped granite polygons that are otherwise excluded from the main map. The third-from-top inset map shows the distribution of drillholes with temperature measurements. The bottom inset map shows an image of the Austherm07 database, which is derived from the drillhole temperature information. The image shows the projected temperature of the crust at a depth of 5 kilometres, interpolated between the drillholes. Overlain on this image is the small number of publicly-available heat flow data.

Proceedings of the 2010 Australian Geothermal Energy Conference

This volume is a compilation of Extended Abstracts presented at the 2010 Australian Geothermal Energy Conference, 17-19 November 2010, Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide, organised by the Australian Geothermal Energy Association and the Australian Geothermal Energy Group.

Proceedings of the 2012 Australian Geothermal Energy Conference

Extended abstracts from various authors compiled as the Proceedings volume of the 2012 Australian Geothermal Energy Conference, 14-16 November 2012, Crown Plaza, Coogee Beach, Sydney.

An assessment of the uranium and geothermal prospectivity of the southern Northern Territory

Recent acquisition of deep crustal seismic and magnetotelluric data in the southern Northern Territory, in conjunction with current and previously completed studies, has led to an increased knowledge of the geological and geodynamic framework of the region. This improved understanding has been used to assess the potential for the presence of uranium and geothermal energy systems within the southern Northern Territory. Four uranium mineral systems were considered: sandstone-hosted, uranium-rich iron oxide-copper-gold, unconformity-related and magmatic-related. The analysis for uranium systems was undertaken in a 2D, GIS-based environment and employed a mineral systems approach consisting of four key components: 1) sources of metals, fluids and ligands, 2) drivers of fluid flow, 3) fluid flow pathways and architecture, and 4) depositional sites and mechanisms. Two geothermal systems were targeted: hot rock geothermal and hot sedimentary aquifer. For the assessment for hot rock geothermal systems, temperatures at depth were predicted in 3D using the 3D GeoModeller software package. Hot sedimentary aquifer potential was assessed using the modelled temperature at the basal contact of sedimentary basins containing favourable aquifer units.

Proceedings of the 2011 Australian Geothermal Energy Conference

Extended abstracts from various authors compiled as the Proceedings volume of the 2011 Australian Geothermal Energy Conference, 16-18 November, Sebel Albert Park, Melbourne.

Geothermal Resources in Australia - Status and Research Needs

This presentation was delivered at the Geothermal Energy Industry Roundtable at Parliament House in March 2007.

An assessment of the uranium and geothermal potential of north Queensland

Report on energy assessment of north Queensland as part of the Onshore Energy Security Program. As part of the Onshore Energy Security Program, Geoscience Australia has undertaken a series of energy potential assessments, both on a national scale and on a regional scale in association geological framework studies. These framework studies, which are designed to provide information on geodynamic and architectural controls on energy systems, are linked to the acquisition of deep seismic, magnetotelluric and airbourne electromagnetic data. The focus of fiscal year 2008-2009 was north Queensland, stretching from the Northern Territory border to the coast, between 17° and 22° south latitude. In addition to the seismic data acquisition and interpretation, these framework studies have included geochronological studies as well as uranium mineral system and geothermal system studied in collaboration with the Uranium and Geothermal Projects. The main goal of these studies is to provide background data that can be used by industry for exploration, however the data also provide new information that can be used in assessing the potential of north Queensland for uranium and geothermal resources using geosystems (i.e. mineral and geothermal systems) methodologies in a GIS environment. This report provides such an assessment in a qualitative to semi-quantitative way. One of the goals of this analysis is to define the extent of areas or regions with known deposits; another goal was to define areas with previously unrecognised potential.

Induced seismicity associated with geothermal power production in Australia

Educational factsheet discussing geothermal induced seismicity, what it is, why it happens, potential risks and mitigation strategies. Short abstract from factsheet header below: Hot Rock geothermal power production relies on using buried hot rocks to heat water and generate electricity. Australia is thought to have an enormous geothermal resource, capable of providing low-emission, cost-competitive energy for centuries to come. The nature of most Hot Rock resources in Australia necessitates artificial enhancement of the resources to make them viable for geothermal power production. One possible hazard associated with developing geothermal resources is induced seismicity. Induced seismicity is the term used to describe earthquakes generated by human activities. Induced earthquakes are associated with the movement of material into or out of the earth, for example during water reservoir filling, underground mining, and development of Hot Rock reservoirs. Exploration for geothermal energy in Australia has rapidly increased over the last five years, and geothermal exploration leases have been taken out around Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart and Geelong. If shown to have viable geothermal resources, geological enhancement of these areas for Hot Rock power production may generate induced seismicity. However, experience in Australia to date suggests that the risks associated with geothermal induced seismicity are very low compared to that of natural earthquakes, and can be reduced by careful management and monitoring.

Electricity Generation from Geothermal Energy in Australia

Educational factsheet summarising geothermal systems (hydrothermal and Hot Rock systems), advantages of geothermal power generation in Australia, geothermal power generation systems, and future electricity generation in Australia using geothermal energy. The mini-abstract on the factsheet is as follows: Geothermal energy is the heat contained within the Earth and it can be used to generate electricity by utilising two main types of geothermal resources. Hydrothermal resources use naturally-occurring hot water or steam circulating through permeable rock, and Hot Rock resources produce super-heated water or steam by artificially circulating fluid through the rock. Electricity generation from geothermal energy in Australia is currently limited to an 80kW net power plant at Birdsville in south west Queensland. However this is likely to change in the future as Hot Rock power plants become increasingly commercially viable.

Direct-use of Geothermal Energy: Opportunities for Australia

Educational factsheet about direct-use of geothermal energy - what it is, why do it, where can it be done, international figures for direct-use of geothermal energy and opportunities for using geothermal energy directly in Australia. Mini-abstract on factsheet as follows: Geothermal energy is a natural source of heat contained within the Earth, and it can be extracted and used either indirectly to generate electricity, or directly for heating applications. There are some examples of geothermal direct-use projects in Australia already and there is significant potential for additional domestic, industrial and commercial applications.