New project!

The ITI GeoT is delighted to annouce that Mike Heap (ITIGeoT WG4) in collaboration with Alan Bischoff from GTK Finland are awarded funding for their "Deep-HEAT-Flows: Discovering deep geothermal resources in low-enthalpy crystalline settings" project. More details!

Funding agency: Academy of Finland

Duration: 4 years

Funding: 999 576 €

Title: Deep-HEAT-Flows: Discovering deep geothermal resources in low-enthalpy crystalline settings


The rapid displacement of fossil fuels by sustainable and affordable energy sources will require novel technologies that can meet large- scale commercial demands. Deep geothermal resources offer near-unlimited clean and reliable energy across multiple spheres of our economy and society, including direct heating, industrial use, and electricity generation. While substantial energy figures are promptly achieved in hot volcanic and rifting zones, unlocking the full potential of geothermal resources will require a new understanding of how heat flows and accumulates at lower-temperature conditions. Our Deep-HEAT-Flows project identifies the fundamental thermogeological processes that create large (>1 km3) and deep (>1 km) geothermal reservoirs in low-enthalpy (<150 °C) crystalline settings. We will develop conceptual models and new tools to resolve geological uncertainties of deep drilling in areas with enormous geothermal potential rarely pursued by the energy industry, with a particular interest in the EU Nordic region. Our multidisciplinary approach combines insights from geophysics, structural geology, petrophysics, geochemistry, thermodynamics, and rock mechanics into a unified model that explains low-enthalpy crystalline reservoir formation. We will conduct a suite of laboratory-based experiments on rock samples from deep boreholes and analogue outcropping rock formations, quantifying critical microscale (<10 cm) variables of crystalline reservoirs such as pore-space morphology, fracturing, and mineral alteration. Additionally, we will collect and assess high- resolution drone photogrammetric data and interpret geophysical surveys to investigate the large-scale (cm to >100’s m) impact of ancient faults and igneous intrusions on crystalline reservoirs. Finally, micro-and large-scale results will be combined to develop computational models that calculate the volume and simulate the energy yield from deep, low-enthalpy crystalline reservoirs. Deep- HEAT-Flows will leap forward to understand the petrophysical and thermal properties of the deep crystalline crust and comprehend heat generation, transfer, and storage at low-enthalpy conditions - essential information that permits accurate forecasting of geothermal resources. Ultimately, our project will ensure that large geothermal resources can become predictable at industrial scale and economically available globally - key to achieve energy security while building a sustainable, resilient, and low-carbon society.

The ITI will be involved in this project by running laboratory experiments in Strasbourg on rocks from the geothermal target site in Finland. A post-doc will be hire for 3.5-year to work on the project.