Geothermal Energy in the Hunter
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Geothermal Energy in the Hunter Presentation to the Hunter Valley Protection Alliance February 2, 2010. Alistair Webb | Geodynamics Limited. Geodynamics. About the Company, Geodynamics: Is Australia’s leading geothermal energy company;

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Geothermal Energy in the HunterPresentation to the Hunter Valley Protection AllianceFebruary 2, 2010

Alistair Webb | Geodynamics Limited


  • About the Company, Geodynamics:

  • Is Australia’s leading geothermal energy company;

  • Is developing the world’s first commercial “hot fractured rock” base load power station near Innamincka in South Australia;

  • Has tenements in the Cooper Basin, where the world’s hottest granites are located;

  • Was awarded $10 million from the NSW Government and $7 million from the Federal Government to explore and develop its Hunter Valley prospect areas;

  • Has a joint venture partnership with Origin Energy in the Cooper Basin; and

  • Has been listed on the Australian Securities Exchange since 2002.

Geothermal energy

  • Overview:

  • Three main types of which two are used in Australia (Hot Sedimentary Aquifers or Hot Rocks) – we are targeting hot rocks (volcanic not suited to our conditions);

  • Also known as hot fractured rocks or Engineered Geothermal Systems (EGS);

  • Australia has some of the hottest known granites on Earth;

  • Uses the Earth’s stored heat to generate electricity, instead of burning fossil fuels;

  • Layers of hot rocks, typically granite, are targeted;

  • Temperatures in the rocks of more than 200 degrees Celsius are required for commercial production.

Geothermal energy

Advantages of the geothermal energy we are targeting:

  • It is renewable energy

  • It produces NO emissions and NO waste

  • It is the only renewable energy able toprovide base load power, and

  • Has a smaller environmental footprint than traditional fossil fuelled power stations.

Did you know that 1% of the geothermal heat resource in the top 5 km of the Earth’s crust could provide 26,000 x our annual energy consumption?

Geoscience Australia, 2009

Geothermal energy

Disadvantages of the geothermal energy we are targeting:

  • It is geographically limited to areas where hot rocks exist;

  • Proximity of the resource to existing power infrastructure;

  • Not suitable in highly earthquake prone areas such as San Francisco and Basel, and

  • The power plant needs to be close to the source of the heat.

Types of geothermal energy

1: Conventional geothermal systems:

  • The most common type of system currently in operational around the world

  • Uses heat from volcanic areas

  • Volcanic emissions are well known for being highly toxic

  • Common in New Zealand, Iceland, Philippines etc.

  • This type of geothermal energy is NOT available to Australia as it is very geologically stable

Types of geothermal energy

2: Hot Sedimentary Aquifer (HSA) systems:

  • One of the types being developed in Australia (Otway Basin in Victoria)

  • Uses heat from hot water found in deep aquifers

  • Produces NO emissions

  • Is NOT associated with the toxic emissions of volcanoes

  • Not suitable for our prospect in the Hunter Valley as presence not identified

Types of geothermal energy

3: Engineered Geothermal Systems:

  • The type being developed by Geodynamics in Australia

  • Uses heat from hot rocks, such as granite

  • Produces NO emissions

  • Is NOT associated with the toxic emissions of volcanoes

Horizontally fractured granite exposed at surface

Why it is needed

  • People are demanding cleaner energy

  • Governments are supporting cleaner energy initiatives

  • Currently coal and gas support Australian base load power stations

  • Coal fired power stations create other harmful emissions, not just carbon dioxide

  • Australia needs to begin changing its energy mix

  • We need to reduce Australia’s carbon footprint

The Bayswater power station, Upper Hunter Photo: Kitty Hill

Binary Geothermal

Power Plant



















270 C C






How electricity is generated

Binary geothermal power:

  • Uses two closed loops

  • Cold water is pumped down to the granite

  • The granite heats the water

  • The heated water is brought up to the surface

  • Heat is exchanged with the second loop, and

  • The second loop provides steam to power the turbine.

Government initiatives

  • Australians are demanding cleaner energy.

  • Governments recognise Australia needs to develop its own renewable energy resource and start to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.

  • $300 million renewable energy demonstration program for renewable energy developers.

  • $50 million for geothermal drilling programs, $7 million per project.

  • Renewables to generate 20% of the electricity market by 2020.

  • Review of national electricity market rules to support infrastructure delivering renewables.

  • More geothermal exploration licences are being issued by State Governments.

A Pivotal Point in Exploration

  • The next well will determine if exploration will continue

Future possibilities

  • Drilling into the granite

Phase 1 -

Confirm temperature projection, Detailed well design, Site preparation

Future possibilities

  • Drilling a second hole into the granite

Future possibilities

Establish a power plant – artist’s impression of a 50 MW power plant

Where we want to undertake further exploration

  • Private land, permission sought from landholders

  • Existing mining lease

  • Two landholders impacted

  • Operations not visible

  • Focused only on this area

  • Awaiting legislative approvals


  • All rocks have an underlying level of radioactivity.

  • Radioactivity occurs naturally all around us everyday.

  • The granite we are targeting at depth has the same level of radioactivity found in granite outcropping in a paddock.


  • We use water to create the reservoir, no additives are used.

  • Water tests – we will share them.

  • Results in the Cooper Basin: the level of radon was lower in the water from the granite than you find in drinking water.

  • Results in the Cooper Basin: the level of radon was lower in the steam tests than what was found naturally occurring in the air.

  • There are NO EMISSIONS in the type of geothermal energy we produce.

Dr Doone Wyborn with steam separatorin background

Induced seismicity

  • We use water to create the reservoir, Water is pumped into the granite, hydraulic fracturing, to create the reservoir

  • Same techniques used for many decades in traditional oil and gas industry.

  • Already used locally at much shallower levels.

  • Highly unlikely to be felt: 1:5,000 events in the Cooper Basin.

  • Installation of a highly sensitive seismic monitoring system similar to that installed in the Cooper Basin.

Seismic monitoring stations ready for installation at Geodynamics’ Savina 1 camp inthe Cooper Basin, SA.

Induced seismicity

  • Independent seismic survey to assess risks.

  • Evidence of the stress orientations to date – CSIRO and the local coal industry.

  • If there were any seismic activities, they would be thoroughly investigated.

No emissions – No waste – No steam

  • Air cooled (like a car radiator)

  • Using closed loops (no venting of hot fluid or steam)

Power from the Earth

Zero emission, base-load power |