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SedHeat: Addressing the Science and Engineering Challenges for Unlocking the Geothermal Potential of Sedimentary Basins

Holbrook, John M.*1; Snyder, Walter 2; Moore, Joseph N.3; Fairhurst, Charles 4; Einstein, Herbert H.5; Block, Karen A.6; Adam, Mila 2
(1) Geology, Texas Christian University, Ft Worth, TX.
(2) Department of Geosciences, Boise State University, Boise, ID.
(3) Energy & Geoscience Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.
(4) Dept. Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.
(5) Dept. Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
(6) Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, The City College of New York, New York, NY.

SedHeat is a community-based initiative that will address the science and engineering research challenges for realizing the geothermal potential of sedimentary basins. This interdisciplinary effort is being sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The program brings together a diverse group of academic and industry participants. In addition to establishing the research needs of geothermal development in this largely untested geothermal environment, the program places strong emphasis on education, career pathways, data sharing, and cyberinfrastructure.

The ability to translate the geothermal potential of sedimentary basins into productive use lies in the application of basic science and engineering research. Effective use also lies in reducing the economic risk of geothermal exploration and development, which inhibits attracting financial investors to this energy sector. In addition, it is also important to provide federal and state decision makers and agencies with the information they require to make sound decisions about geothermal energy. The long-term vision of this effort is to integrate NSF-sponsored research, education and cyberinfrastructure into a partnership among researchers, industry, and state and federal agencies to insure that geothermal energy can meet its potential as a major and sustainable contributor to our nation's energy grid.

The first workshop for this initiative was held November 7-9 at the Energy & Geosciences Institute, University of Utah. The overall goal was to define the scope of research needed for this under-studied portion of the renewable energy portfolio and to provide a road map for how NSF's community, through fundamental research, facilities development, data sharing, cyberinfrastructure, and education, can help make the vast geothermal potential of sedimentary basins a significant part of the nation's renewable energy portfolio. The interdisciplinary nature and the broad range of research needed means that the development of the roadmap will be an iterative process. Subsequent workshops will be held on more focused topics. The SedHeat.org web site serves as a central communication point for the initiative.
 

 

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90142 © 2012 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, April 22-25, 2012, Long Beach, California