Hotspots for Geothermal “Direct Heat” in Alberta (e.g. greenhouses)

According to an industry study of Alberta’s geothermal potential,  numerous communities have oil and gas wells with temperatures above 90c and are also within 10kms of a municipality.  At that temperature and proximity, there is potential to use geothermal capabilities for generating direct heat.

* The table of communities to the right reflects the top 15 (by well count).  Use the dashboard below to explore for more.
* The well data used in the study were current to Oct 31, 2016.
* New wells would have been drilled since and are not part of the study.

The wells associated with those communities above are also mapped to Alberta’s Township range system.  Each circle below give a sense of where the wells are located. These lower temperature wells have a wider dispersion across the province than either the  >120c or >90c wells do.

To recreate and explore the results, simply go to the associated dashboard (click on the image below) and then select the lower right button called “1. Direct Heat within 10kms of Municipality”.

*All information is provided subject to our Terms of Use, including disclaimer of warranties and limitations on liability. © Fuzeium Innovations Inc. To provide feedback, contact us at info@fuzeium.com


Hotspots for Geothermal “Industrial Heat” in Alberta (e.g. timber drying)

According to an industry study of Alberta’s geothermal potential,  numerous communities have oil and gas wells with temperatures above 90c and are also within 10kms of a road network.  At that temperature and proximity, there is potential to use geothermal capabilities for generating industrial heat.

* The table of communities to the right reflects the top 15 (by well count).  Use the dashboard to explore for more.
* The well data used in the study were current to Oct 31, 2016.
* New wells would have been drilled since and are not part of the study.

The wells associated with those communities above are also mapped to Alberta’s Township range system.  Each circle below give a sense of where the wells are located. All are along the western side of the province but are in much greater in number and cover a larger area than the hottest wells do.

To recreate and explore the results, simply go to the associated dashboard (click on the image below) and then select the lower right button called “2. Industrial Heat within 10kms of Road Network”.

*All information is provided subject to our Terms of Use, including disclaimer of warranties and limitations on liability. © Fuzeium Innovations Inc. To provide feedback, contact us at info@fuzeium.com


 

Hotspots for Geothermal “Power Generation” in Alberta

According to an industry study on Alberta’s geothermal potential, the following communities have oil and gas wells with temperatures above 120c and are also within 10kms of a power line or substation.  At that temperature and proximity, there is potential to use geothermal capabilities to generate electricity.


* The range in # of wells above is from 1 (Claresholm) to 54 (Hinton).
* The well data used in the study were current to Oct 31, 2016.
* New wells would have been drilled since and are not part of the study.

The wells associated with those communities above are also mapped to Alberta’s Township range system.  Each circle below give a sense of where the wells are located.  All are along the western side of the province where the wells are the deepest.

To recreate and explore the results, simply go to the associated dashboard (click on the image below) and then select the lower right button called “3. Power Generation within 10kms of Powerline or Substation”.

*All information is provided subject to our Terms of Use, including disclaimer of warranties and limitations on liability. © Fuzeium Innovations Inc. To provide feedback, contact us at info@fuzeium.com


 

Digital Data Enables A Renewable Energy: Geothermal / “Earth Heat”

I have written about digital data as an unnatural resource and its importance to Canada’s Innovation Agenda.  In this article, I want to draw attention to how digital data can enable a burgeoning, renewable energy industry in Canada: geothermal.

The Canadian Federal Government recently acknowledged in its 2017 budget that “Geothermal energy is one renewable energy source with the potential to reliably meet a portion of Canada’s heating and electricity generation needs….”  Coupled with incentives now offered by the government to encourage investment, the Candian geothermal industry is hopeful it can successfully develop the resource on behalf of Canadians.

According to the industry association, CanGEA, “Geothermal energy is a clean source of reliable electricity and large scale direct use of the hot water derived from the earth that can help solve some of Canada’s greatest challenges, namely providing energy security, economic growth and reducing our CO2 emissions.”

“In its simplest terms, geothermal means earth-heat. It is related to the thermal energy of Earth’s interior. On a large scale, the intensity of this thermal energy increases with depth, that is, the temperature of the Earth increases as we travel closer to its centre.

This means that in order to tap into that “earth heat” one has to drill into the earth.  But isn’t that what the oil and gas industry has been doing for decades, albeit for hydrocarbon extraction?  In the province of Alberta alone, there are about 430,000 physical surface locations where wells have been drilled for oil and gas.  Not all of them function anymore and in some cases, the equipment is gone and the land reclaimed.  But the landscape is very much dotted with thousands of structures like these, some working away, some sitting inactive.

Can we tell if these wells are suitable for geothermal energy? By looking at these pictures alone, unfortunately, there is no way to know. That’s because there are many factors that influence decision making. These include but are not limited to, the location of the well; depth of the well; the temperature at the bottom of the well; the physical characteristics and conditions of the well; the status of the well license; the owner of the well license; the well’s age; its proximity to electrical infrastructure and communities; the land leaseholder; existing well liabilities;  regulations; the economics to build and operate, and so on.

Complicating matters, there is no one repository of all that data, so multiple sources have to be integrated in a meaningful way and analyzed. Fortunately, we are at a point in time where capabilities are coalescing to enable such decision-making.  Much data is available from government agencies; geological data is in abundance; commercial oil and gas data is more prevalent; data integration and analytical tools are more sophisticated.  These capabilities, when effectively combined, help reduce large data sets through filters, so that candidate wells can be identified.  The following is a concept illustration of the approach for Alberta, but the method would be applicable to other jurisdictions.

Many wells have potential, regardless of their stage of life (e.g. whether they are actively producing oil or gas, they are inactive, or decommissioned etc).  But there are cautionary flags raised by some who say there are numerous challenges that will impede progress, such as the condition of the well and its associated liabilities for decommissioning. This perspective was captured in a recent CBC article on the subject.   But even if a particular well is not suitable for geothermal, the data stemming from the well and its area (surface and subsurface) might inform prospective developers and investors on where to drill new wells.  In other words, digital data that’s accumulated in and around a well has value on its own for identifying geothermal potential.

Innovation has always stood at a crossroads; this is no different for exploiting geothermal in Canada.  What’s needed are guide books that set the direction and identify what to look for along the way.  CanGEA has been building those resources for over a decade and it will continue to do so on behalf of the industry.  And increasingly, we will see digital capabilities emerge as an enabler to finding and exploiting “earth heat” as a renewable energy source.

*All information is provided subject to our Terms of Use, including disclaimer of warranties and limitations on liability. © Fuzeium Innovations Inc. To provide feedback, contact us at info@fuzeium.com