Journal cover Journal topic
Geothermal Energy Science An open-access journal
Journal topic
Volume 3, issue 1
Geoth. Energ. Sci., 3, 13-17, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/gtes-3-13-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Estimation and classification of geothermal potential...

Geoth. Energ. Sci., 3, 13-17, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/gtes-3-13-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  24 Mar 2015

24 Mar 2015

Classification of geothermal resources by potential

L. Rybach L. Rybach
  • Institute of Geophysics ETHZ, Zurich, Switzerland

Abstract. When considering and reporting resources, the term "geothermal potential" is often used without clearly stating what kind of potential is meant. For renewable energy resources it is nowadays common to use different potentials: theoretical, technical, economic, sustainable, developable – decreasing successively in size. In such a sequence, the potentials are progressively realizable and more and more rewarding financially. The theoretical potential describes the physically present energy, the technical potential the fraction of this energy that can be used by currently available technology and the economic potential the time- and location-dependent fraction of the previous category; the sustainable potential constrains the fraction of the economic potential that can be utilized in the long term; the developable potential is the fraction of the economic resource which can be developed under realistic conditions. In converting theoretical to technical potential, the recovery factor (the ratio extractable heat/heat present at depth) is of key importance. An example (global geothermal resources) is given, with numerical values of the various potentials. The proposed classification could and should be used as a kind of general template for future geothermal energy resources reporting.

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Short summary
A new resource classification scheme is described, based on different geothermal potentials: theoretical, technical, economic, sustainable, developable – decreasing successively in size. In converting theoretical to technical potential, the recovery factor (the ratio extractable heat/heat present at depth) is of key importance. The proposed classification of potentials provides a useful template for standardizing the future reporting of geothermal energy resources worldwide.
A new resource classification scheme is described, based on different geothermal potentials:...
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