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Exploring High Temperature reservoirs: new challenges for geothermal energy - Volterra, Italy, Workshop2
Exploring High Temperature reservoirs: new challenges for geothermal energy - Volterra, Italy, Workshop2
1-4 April 2007 Volterra, Tuscany, Italy
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Development of Deep Unconventional Geothermal Resources (DUGR’s) in Iceland and their Potential Application Elsewhere in Europe.
The Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) represents a new and challenging step 
forward in the development of geothermal resources worldwide (see The IDDP is designed to assess the economic potential of 
producing deep, supercritical, geothermal fluids as a source of steam for power 
production. A two-year long feasibility study concluded that drilling to reach 
high-temperature supercritical fluids is possible, and that producing the 
resultant superheated steam could yield a power output ten times that of a 
conventional well producing subcritical steam with the same volumetric flow 
rate. However, in order to reach the required temperatures of 400-600°C, 
drilling to depths of 4 to 5 km is necessary, at a cost three to four times that of 
a conventional 2 to 3 km deep well. The first deep well will be drilled in 2008 at 
Krafla at the northern end of the central rift zone of Iceland within a volcanic 
caldera that has had recent volcanic activity.  In the coming decade we 
anticipate that the IDDP will drill a series of deep holes in other geothermal 
fields in Iceland, including the Reykjanes peninsula in SW Iceland. 

A recent comprehensive assessment of the potential for “enhanced” 
geothermal systems (EGS) within the USA, (by a panel headed by J.W.Tester of 
MIT)*, indicates that a cumulative capacity of more than 100,000 MWe from EGS 
can be achieved in the United States within 50 years with modest multiyear 
government investment. However, given the environmental and economic 
incentives of producing an order of magnitude more energy from geothermal 
wells occupying the same area, but at less than an a half order of magnitude 
increased cost, supercritical volcanic geothermal resources are an especially 
attractive component of EGS. Such deep unconventional geothermal resources 
(DUGR’s) are not restricted to Iceland, For example, in the USA, the resource 
base of conventional hydrothermal resources is estimated to be 2,400-9,600 
Exajoules (1 EJ = 1018 J), whereas the supercritical volcanic EGS resource base 
is estimated to be as much as 74,100 EJ (excluding sytems in National Parks). A 
preliminary review of existing data from Europe suggests that DUGR’s are likely 
to occur in Italy, Turkey, Greece, the Canary Islands, in the Azores and in  
Russia (Kamchatka). A systematic survey of the potential of DUGR’s in Europe is 
therefore desirable and plans should be developed to investigate these 
potentially large resources further.

* “The Future of Geothermal Energy: Impact of Enhanced Geothermal Systems 
(EGS) on the United States in the 21st  Century”. (see
Id: 4
Place: Volterra, Tuscany, Italy
Campus SIAF, SP del Monte Volterrano
Localita' Il Cipresso
Volterra, Italy
Starting date:
03-Apr-2007   14:00
Duration: 30'
Primary Authors: Prof. ELDERS, Wilfred (University of California, Riverside, California, USA)
Presenters: Prof. ELDERS, Wilfred
Material: slides Slides

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