CSIRO applies its rock physics capability to develop geothermal technologies.
Geothermal energy: clean and sustainable energy for the future
CSIRO is applying geothermal capabilities to help secure Australia's energy future in a low emissions world.
9 November 2011 | Updated 4 July 2012
Geothermal energy has the potential to provide clean and sustainable energy for Australia well into the future. CSIRO research is helping to exploit this new resource to secure the nation’s energy future.
Our goal is to conduct research and development that will accelerate deployment of commercial scale geothermal energy in Australia.
Australia’s energy challenge
The drive towards clean energy and a low carbon emission future is becoming increasingly important. Australia has some of the richest sources in the world of geothermal energy and has the potential to provide the nation with an abundant supply of sustainable energy.
Whilst our geothermal energy resources are large, commercial application of geothermal energy in Australia is still in its infancy.
Our geothermal resources vary from conventional resources currently being exploited and those that require new technologies and processes to access them.
The industry therefore needs a significant level of R&D support to turn the potential into a commercially successful reality. This will require the adaptation of existing technologies to suit the nation's geothermal systems as well as the development of new technologies.
CSIRO’s Petroleum and Geothermal Research Portfolio
CSIRO‘s research activities directly address Australia’s national challenges and research priorities. Securing our energy future is one of these.
CSIRO recognises the importance of petroleum and geothermal energy as part of Australia’s future energy strategy and has recently created a Petroleum and Geothermal Research Portfolio to focus our research efforts on these priority areas.
CSIRO's Petroleum and Geothermal Research Portfolio will focus on demonstrating the feasibility of geothermal energy use in Australia.
The Portfolio’s goals are to secure Australia's future energy supply by optimising oil and facilitating a smooth transition to a low carbon nation. The Portfolio aims to demonstrate the feasibility of geothermal energy use and improve the characterisation of geothermal resources in Australia.
CSIRO's geothermal research covers hot sedimentary aquifers and hot rocks. Our research is focused on defining, locating and developing suitable geothermal resources for exploitation and developing technologies to facilitate energy generation and use from geothermal heat.
Hot sedimentary aquifers
Through the Western Australian Geothermal Centre of Excellence, CSIRO is addressing research challenges that need to be addressed in order to use hot sedimentary aquifers to provide energy for applications such as desalination, air conditioning and power.
We are also examining the chemical and mechanical factors that contribute to the management of aquifers in geothermal systems. The research will broaden the use and commercial-scale application of geothermal energy.
Australia has some of the richest sources of hot rocks in the world, in the form of high heat producing granites. Harnessing energy from this source will need to address challenges such as:
- developing cost-effective technologies to access deep hot rock reservoirs
- for efficient heat extraction, management of geothermal sources to enhance production and securing energy transportation to market.
CSIRO research aims to gain a better understanding of the geological settings of hot rock energy and how we can exploit geothermal heat in Australia.
CSIRO is applying its existing capabilities in drilling, reservoir characterisation and stimulation to geothermal reservoirs as well as developing new technologies and engineering processes that will enable Australia's geothermal resources to become commercially viable energy sources.
Partnering with CSIRO
CSIRO has well established relationships with Australian and international research institutions, universities, governments and industry. CSIRO is also a partner of the Western Australian Geothermal Centre of Excellence.
Through CSIRO, our partners have access to strong collaborative links within a world-wide network and a breadth and depth of multidisciplinary expertise and integrated capabilities.
CSIRO provides a range of partnering and technology transfer arrangements. We actively seek to develop partnerships and joint venture relationships to meet the needs of industrial, research and commercial collaborators.