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Geothermal 'has big potential for NZ'

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealand is a world leader in geothermal energy technology which has significant potential for the country’s energy supply, says Professor Rosalind Archer who will lead tonight’s third lecture in the University of Auckland’s Vice-Chancellor’s Lecture Series for 2014.

New Zealand is a world leader in geothermal energy technology which has significant potential for the country’s energy supply, says Professor Rosalind Archer who will lead tonight’s third lecture in the University of Auckland’s Vice-Chancellor’s Lecture Series for 2014.

Professor Archer is Director of the Geothermal Institute and the Head of the University’s Department of Engineering Science. She holds the Mighty River Power Chair in Geothermal Reservoir Engineering at the University.

The consistent nature of the geothermal energy production process helps facilitate the use of other renewables in the national grid, she says.

"We are unlikely to build more large hydro stations. Geothermal has the lowest cost per unit of electricity generation capacity so it’s an attractive technology for future generation.

"Our research focus aims to improve our understanding of the processes involved in geothermal energy exploration and production, so that we can harness geothermal energy in a sustainable way because we need to ensure that these resources are still going to be here for our grandchildren."

New reservoir management tools are being developed in geothermal energy including 3D computer models that provide better-than-ever representations of where and how fluids move underground.

"Our sophisticated computer models allow geothermal reservoirs to be managed by re-injecting produced fluid, eliminating the need for discharge to nearby rivers."

Expertise and innovation in geothermal energy technology is an important opportunity for the country’s economy, Professor Archer says.

"New Zealand consulting and construction firms are involved in geothermal developments worldwide. Indonesia has ambitious plans to grow its geothermal generation capacity. We also expect development in Latin America and Africa to grow significantly."

Co-presenter and lecturer in the Department of Engineering Science, Dr John O’Sullivan, will talk about how computer modelling work done in Engineering Science has been applied to a range of geothermal systems around the world.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Lecture series runs until October 21. For more information go to: www.auckland.ac.nz/vclectures

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