New Western Australia Research Centre to Focus on Geothermal Applications

A new research centre dedicated to developing technologies for the provision of geothermal sources of energy to cities has been launched in Perth.

The Western Australian Geothermal Centre of Excellence (WAGCOE) is a joint venture between CSIRO and The University of Western Australia, in conjunction with Curtin University of Technology, and supported by the WA State Government.

The Centre brings together researchers, industry, investors and government agencies to investigate how geothermal energy can be used to provide modern cities with air conditioning, power and desalinated water.

Centre Director, UWA Professor and Premier's Fellow Klaus Regenauer-Lieb, said Perth is an ideal geological setting for demonstrating and providing local geothermal energy.

"The shallow groundwater of the Perth Basin is an excellent source of low-grade heat which can be used for direct-use applications that people use every day," Professor Regenauer-Lieb said.

"By exploring for and using low-grade heat in a permeable sedimentary environment, we are addressing a previously overlooked opportunity to broaden the applications and use of geothermal energy.

Our aim is to make Perth the first geothermally cooled city in the coming decade and we are working closely with geothermal lease holders, city planners and other stakeholders to advance the geothermal industry and make this vision a reality", Professor Regenauer-Lieb said.

The Centre links 'below-ground' research with 'above-ground' development, by modelling low-to-intermediate temperature geothermal systems and delivering novel technologies for low-grade heat. Modelling is also being used to identify deeper and hotter geothermal sources including hot sedimentary aquifers and 'hot rocks'.

The Centre will also develop geothermal energy university courses and provide advice and consulting services to industry.

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