GTO Funding Supports Push to Identify New Geothermal Plays

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) last week said that its Geothermal Technologies Office has completed seismic data acquisition at two key geothermal sites in northern Nevada. 

According to the DOE, the data was acquired by U.S. Geothermal in the vicinity of existing geothermal operations at San Emidio and Crescent Valley. The data acquisition was supported as part of a $1.5 million federal share project launched via the Subsurface Science, Technology, and Engineering Research, Development, and Demonstration (SubTER) funding opportunity announcement.

DOE said that San Emidio has been engaged in previous DOE-funded efforts, and Crescent Valley is a key region in the ongoing Nevada Play Fairway Analysis, which seeks to expand geothermal operations in the state. 

The resulting imagery, produced using MicroSeismic passive seismic emission tomography, should indicate the presence of permeability fairways that will aid in targeting new geothermal wells for production, according to DOE. Optim Software and Berkeley Lab will provide support during the data interpretation stages.

The project deployed 1,300 sensors at San Emidio and 900 at Crescent Valley, yielding a density of approximately 150 sensors per square mile. 

DOE said that this saturation of source data, coupled with advancements in multi-terabyte data processing and high-resolution imaging, will result in subsurface imagery that exceeds previous surveys in terms of accuracy and clarity.

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