De-risking database for hot sedimentary aquifers

Brémaud, Maelle and Burnside, Neil M. and Shipton, Zoe K. and Willems, Cees J.L. (2023) De-risking database for hot sedimentary aquifers. In: World Geothermal Congress 2023, 2023-09-15 - 2023-09-17, China National Convention Center (CNCC).

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Many of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitting nations have recently committed to Net Zero or carbon neutrality targets by the year 2045 to 2060. This has led to an increasing investment in geothermal energy technology to diversify power mix and decarbonise energy generation. Amongst existing settings, hot sedimentary aquifers (HSAs) are large and conductive systems, typically occurring in large basin settings that are found across much of the world. They are hot enough, and have sufficient productivity, to provide significant low-carbon resources for heating or electricity purposes. However, there is still a substantial amount of risk associated with HSA projects, which restrains further development of the technology. The risk of failure faced by geothermal operators includes environmental, technical, financial and geological hazards, any of which can lead to unsuccessful geothermal projects. De-risking geothermal development is crucial for meeting prospective development objectives and enabling robust assessment of the potential relationships between the success or failure of a project and its main associated parameters. Key information gaps must also be addressed to tackle and diminish any risk involved with geothermal development. A unique database is under development that aims to capture all publicly available data for failed, and active HSA projects, in order to determine the most important predictive parameters for successful utilisation of HSAs. The database provides comparison data within specific sedimentary basins (e.g. specific to the geological setting of a basin) or nations (e.g. regulatory regime) as well as basin-independent factors across all potential locations (e.g. drilling technology). This paper will summarise findings from data collection, encompassing a suite of project information including reservoir properties and hazards encountered during exploration and operation. Case studies will be discussed from the UK and the Netherlands, and recommendations for best practice in both project development and data curation will be put forward.