No, it doesn’t make Greenbang think of a New Zealand geothermal push either, but thankfully that’s the direction this post is going in.
A bunch of scientists, from the Kiwi government’s GNS Science group, have landed themselves NZ$2.6 million for a three year research project to increase the use of low temperature geothermal energy in New Zealand.
Low temperatures, if you’re a Kiwi, are 150 degrees and in some cases down to 80 degrees. Greenbang doesn’t know about you, but she kind of thinks calling 150 degrees low temperature is stretching it a bit. If you can cook a pie in it, Greenbang would suggest the temperature really isn’t that low.
But back to the geothermal and back to fluid discharges. According to GNS, NZ is just plain bursting with low temperature heat sources that could be used to provide the Kiwis with lots of lovely energy.
And what are those sources? Yes, it’s the fluid discharges. Says GNS:
Natural heat energy sources include springs and borehole fluid discharges, shallow aquifers, water and steam discharges from thermal power plants, warm water associated with oil and gas wells, and flooded underground mines. Also, ground-source heat pumps can be used to harness the heat contained in dry rock. […]
The research will start with a nationwide inventory of low-heat energy sources and a study of the heat energy transfer characteristics of the ground at a number of places in New Zealand.
There will also be an analysis of socioeconomic factors and energy and tax policies that might influence the uptake of this energy type.
Another arm of the research programme will address technical and scientific areas that will need development to enable the growth of this type of energy. This is likely to include geophysical techniques for locating and better characterising low temperature sources, and development of specific technology.
Finally, the programme will recommend ways to increase the use of low temperature geothermal resources across New Zealand.