1887
Volume 41, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0263-5046
  • E-ISSN: 1365-2397

Abstract

Summary

This paper provides a short overview of geothermal energy, including a discussion on the key geological controls on heat distribution in the subsurface, and on the different types of geothermal resource and their potential uses. We then discuss the island of Ireland as an example of the role that geothermal energy can play in decarbonising the heat sector in a region characterised by relatively low-enthalpy (temperature) resources. Significant shallow geothermal potential exists across the island via the deployment of ground source heat pumps. The geology of onshore Ireland provides relatively limited potential for deep hydrothermal aquifers with primary porosity and permeability. Therefore, deep geothermal exploration on the island is likely to be focused on fractured carbonate reservoirs of Carboniferous age, with recorded groundwater temperatures reaching 38°C at 1 km depth, or on lower permeability petrothermal reservoirs developed as Enhanced or Advanced Geothermal Systems. The exception to this occurs within Mesozoic basins in Northern Ireland where porous and permeable Permo-Triassic sandstones are preserved beneath Paleogene basalts. Geothermal potential also exists in equivalent basins immediately offshore Ireland. For example, Triassic sandstones within the Kish Bank Basin, a few kilometres off the coast of Dublin, have estimated reservoir temperatures of 20–120°C across the basin.

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2024-04-22
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