Researchers at the Schulich School of Engineering recently received funding that will support investigative work into optimizing geothermal energy systems.
The funds will support a four-year $3 million project conducted by the Energi Simulation Centre for Geothermal Systems Research, where Dr. Apostolos Kantzas serves as the associate director and Dr. Roman Shor serves as the Energi Simulation Industrial Research Chair in Geothermal Systems.
This funding comes from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Mitacs, in collaboration with Ashaw Energy, ConocoPhillips, KALiNA Distributed Power, Suncor, Telsec and Terrador Energy, and in partnership with the Alberta Energy Regulator, Alberta Geological Survey, and the Geological Survey of Canada.
“Our vision is to enable geothermal anywhere because today, you only hear about geothermal in “hot spots” like Iceland, California, etc., where you have that energy close to the earth’s surface. However, there’s thermal energy everywhere on the planet, you just have to drill deep enough for it,” said Shor in a video interview with Energi Media.
Shor also emphasized that building geothermal energy’s global presence means taking a holistic approach is crucial. Building social acceptance and public understanding from communities needs to be a part of the process.
“The geothermal energy lab is going to try and bring together researchers from engineering, sciences, law, and potentially, in the future, from arts and humanities, to all work together to try and address the research questions that are both on the technical side, plus on the social license, social acceptance, and sustainability side. That way, we can go ahead developing geothermal anywhere,” said Shor.
To assist in scaling geothermal energy globally, the Energi Simulation Centre has worked in close collaboration with Eavor Technologies in a previous project to help understand and optimize the physics of hard-rock drilling. Eavor is also a proud sponsor of the Calgary Geothermal Workshop that is hosted annually at the University of Calgary, which Shor and his team facilitate.