Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tapping Into Australia's Unique Hot Energy Resources

Date:
May 12, 2008
Source:
Australian Academy of Science
Summary:
Australia is uniquely endowed with heat-producing elements under its surface that could provide potentially unlimited amounts of geothermal power for this country, say geoscientists. West of the line between Cairns and the mouth of the Murray River lies a belt of rocks containing the enriched elements uranium, thorium, and potassium that are around 1.5 billion years old. These enriched elements are essentially a heat source located in the upper part of the continental crust.

Australia is uniquely endowed with heat-producing elements under its surface that could provide potentially unlimited amounts of geothermal power for this country, says geoscientist Dr Sandra McLaren.

Dr McLaren will speak about her research into Australia's heat-producing elements, and their potential for future energy production, at the Academy of Science's peak annual event Science at the Shine Dome May 7.

She says that west of the line between Cairns and the mouth of the Murray River lies a belt of rocks containing the enriched elements uranium, thorium, and potassium that are around 1.5 billion years old. These enriched elements are essentially a heat source located in the upper part of our continental crust.

'Our status as one of the most prospective countries in the world for geothermal power generation is due to this extraordinary enrichment in uranium. That's because when we bury these enriched rocks, even beneath only about two or three kilometres of sediment, they're capable of generating extremely high temperatures which we can use to generate geothermal power.'

She says that nuclear power and geothermal power use the same source of fuel – enriched uranium.

'The fundamental difference between the two energy options is the degree to which the uranium is enriched in a particular spot, and the way in which we choose to use it. So, although as geoscientists we are aware of this resource, there is still a lot of work we can do in assessing and documenting it and developing new exploration strategies and, further down the track, new technology to exploit this.

'Its an extraordinary resource that we have. Its had profound impact on our geological past, and we're at the point in time, in terms of society, of making a choice of what to do with that resource into the future.

'We have on average 2-3 times the normal concentration of uranium, thorium and potassium in the crust, so we're in a better position than probably any other country in the world to generate this type of geothermal energy.'

In terms of the future of geothermal power in Australia she says: 'Its potentially unlimited in terms of the actual resource. I think the thing that's going to constrain how and when we can use this resource for generating power is more on the engineering side, more understanding how to exploit it once we've identified how much is there.

'The exploration companies in Australia are used to exploring for base metals and gold and metallic resources. Exploring for geothermal energy is a different ask all together and we really need to develop a framework to get better data sets for us to assess different resources and better ways of looking for them.'


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Australian Academy of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Australian Academy of Science. "Tapping Into Australia's Unique Hot Energy Resources." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080508132406.htm>.
Australian Academy of Science. (2008, May 12). Tapping Into Australia's Unique Hot Energy Resources. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080508132406.htm
Australian Academy of Science. "Tapping Into Australia's Unique Hot Energy Resources." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080508132406.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

AFP (July 22, 2014) As part of the 14-ship convoy that will accompany the Costa Concordia from the port of Giglio to the port of Genoa, there will be a boat carrying experts to look out for dolphins and whales from crossing the path of the Concordia. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

AP (July 21, 2014) New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate in a large-scale recycling effort for cigarette butts. The city is rolling out dozens of containers for smokers to use when they discard their butts. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

AFP (July 19, 2014) A spectaCular lightning storm struck the UK overnight Friday. Images of lightning strikes over the Shard and Tower Bridge in central London. Duration: 00:23 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins