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Energies 2015, 8(10), 11737-11754; doi:10.3390/en81011737

Geothermal Energy: Delivering on the Global Potential

School of Engineering, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G23 5EB, Scotland, UK
Academic Editor: Enrico Sciubba
Received: 8 October 2015 / Accepted: 9 October 2015 / Published: 19 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geothermal Energy: Delivering on the Global Potential)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [666 KB, uploaded 19 October 2015]   |  

Abstract

Geothermal energy has been harnessed for recreational uses for millennia, but only for electricity generation for a little over a century. Although geothermal is unique amongst renewables for its baseload and renewable heat provision capabilities, uptake continues to lag far behind that of solar and wind. This is mainly attributable to (i) uncertainties over resource availability in poorly-explored reservoirs and (ii) the concentration of full-lifetime costs into early-stage capital expenditure (capex). Recent advances in reservoir characterization techniques are beginning to narrow the bounds of exploration uncertainty, both by improving estimates of reservoir geometry and properties, and by providing pre-drilling estimates of temperature at depth. Advances in drilling technologies and management have potential to significantly lower initial capex, while operating expenditure is being further reduced by more effective reservoir management—supported by robust models—and increasingly efficient energy conversion systems (flash, binary and combined-heat-and-power). Advances in characterization and modelling are also improving management of shallow low-enthalpy resources that can only be exploited using heat-pump technology. Taken together with increased public appreciation of the benefits of geothermal, the technology is finally ready to take its place as a mainstream renewable technology, exploited far beyond its traditional confines in the world’s volcanic regions. View Full-Text
Keywords: binary cycle; drilling; energy; exploration; geophysics; geothermal; heat; heat-pump; power plant; renewable binary cycle; drilling; energy; exploration; geophysics; geothermal; heat; heat-pump; power plant; renewable
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Younger, P.L. Geothermal Energy: Delivering on the Global Potential. Energies 2015, 8, 11737-11754.

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