A two-day geothermal science conferences starts tomorrow in New Zealand, where a collection of the industry's top minds will meet to consider the country's geothermal future.
Called Hotter and Deeper Exploration Science (HADES) -- and perhaps begging the question of what came first, the acronym or the title -- the event is held in Taupo and will focus on current industry practices, and how to take them to the next level.
At the heart of the conference is deep geothermal exploration, backed by the latest information from GNS scientists (New Zealand's leading researchers) who claim the entire country's energy demands could be met with deeper drilling into hotter geothermal wells -- up to 5 km deep.
"Scientists conservatively estimate that deep geothermal resources in the central North Island could provide 10,000 megawatts for over 100 years for New Zealand," said GNS Science Senior Geothermal Scientist Greg Bignall, a convenor of the Taupo workshop.
"This would satisfy all of New Zealand's current electricity demand, which is generated from a capacity of 9,000 megawatts," Dr Bignall said.
Such endeavors pose serious challenges - namely that all current technology would be pushed past its limits to safely access such depths and temperatures.
"To achieve this there are a number of engineering and scientific challenges to overcome as conventional technologies would be pushed beyond their limits to extract fluids from such depths. Currently there is no satisfactory way of handling geothermal fluids that are 400 degrees Celsius."
Which is precisely why the HADES conference is taking place, to form partnerships that increase the capability for research and development, and eventually lead to testing new ground.
The hope is to have the first deep well drilled by 2014.
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