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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Publication details for Prof Jon Gluyas

Adams, C.A., Gluyas, J.G. & Mathias, S.A. (2010), Application of Hydrogeological parameters for evaluating the thermal resource potential for deep groundwater systems, BHS Third International Conference: Role of hydrology in managing consequences of a changing global environment. Newcastle upon Tyne, British Hydrological Society, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Author(s) from Durham


Geothermal energy has significant global potential as a clean non-intermittent energy resource.
Exploiting geothermal energy uses water which either flows naturally or is stimulated to flow in
the sub-surface within deep aquifers or fractured basement. Therefore, it is necessary to understand
fluid flow in the upper crust of the Earth (0–5 km depth). Fluid flow could be through waterbearing
porous and permeable media (e.g. sandstones and limestones), fractured dry rocks or fluid
filled fault zones. The UK has low to medium temperature geothermal resources related to past
intrusive igneous activity. A thorough understanding of these low to medium temperature systems is
particularly important, because their usefulness will only be realised by optimising site conditions
from a geological and engineering standpoint. It is necessary not only to examine the temperatures
at depth but to ensure that fluid flow is sufficient so that the geothermal resource is not quickly
depleted. Conversely, we also need to ensure that any fluids removed for heat extraction can be
re-injected elsewhere in the system to prevent discharge of warm, chemically unsuitable fluids to
surface water courses. The requirement to understand these systems is critical for the UK because
economic exploitation of a marginally productive resource relies upon the interplay of several
finely balanced factors. This paper presents a hydrogeological evaluation of two geothermal case
studies, one from north-east England and one from the North Sea. The applicability of these two
case studies to other marginally productive geothermal areas is then discussed.