Assessment of submarine geothermal resources and development of tools to quantify their energy potentials for environmentally sustainable development

Suarez-Arriaga, Mario-Cesar and Bundschuh, Jochen and Samaniego, Fernando (2014) Assessment of submarine geothermal resources and development of tools to quantify their energy potentials for environmentally sustainable development. Journal of Cleaner Production, 83. pp. 21-32. ISSN 0959-6526


Submarine geothermal reservoirs contain huge amounts of energy, not been used so far but recently considered for exploitation. Their energy potentials are much larger than those of onshore geothermal resources and can cover significant parts of the global future energy demands in an environmentally sustainable way. There are two types: (i) deep resources along oceanic spreading centers, where uprising magma heats fluids circulating through fissured rocks, which emerge at vents at temperatures up to 460°C, mixing with seawater (depth: 1000-4000 m below sea level), and (ii) coastal shallow resources where geothermal fluids emerge at fractures (depth: 1-50 m). The total length of deep systems is ∼65,000 km and there are sites where pressure and temperature are high enough that they are at supercritical conditions. The first part of this paper assesses global information on submarine geothermal resources, concluding that - using mature technology from onshore geothermal and offshore hydrocarbon exploitation - submarine geothermal resources can be an economical affordable option for energy supplies at small-large scale. In the second part a - generally valid - robust, mathematical approach is developed to quantify these resources and its applicability is demonstrated using two examples. In Baja California (Mexico), the coastal submarine geothermal potential per cubic kilometer of rock of Punta Banda, Wagner Depression and Gulf of California resulted 245, 350 and 528 MWT/km3, respectively. Transforming only 1% of this energy into electricity the capacity of the Gulf of California alone is ∼26,000 MWe. The submarine geothermal system of Santorini Caldera (Greece) yielded 869 MWe (reservoir 100 km3).

Statistics for USQ ePrint 26544
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2015 01:32
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2016 05:01
Uncontrolled Keywords: emission reduction; environmentally sustainable development of energy supply; global submarine geothermal potentials; Gulf of California (Mexico); Santorini (Greece); submarine shallow and deep geothermal resources
Fields of Research : 09 Engineering > 0914 Resources Engineering and Extractive Metallurgy > 091406 Petroleum and Reservoir Engineering
04 Earth Sciences > 0403 Geology > 040309 Petroleum and Coal Geology
09 Engineering > 0907 Environmental Engineering > 090701 Environmental Engineering Design
Socio-Economic Objective: B Economic Development > 85 Energy > 8501 Energy Exploration > 850102 Geothermal Exploration
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.07.040

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only