Geothermal Energy

Since its incorporation in 2007 Ecofluidics has made a significant contribution to both marine and to on-land geothermal energy research.

Modelling a Two Phase Fluid in a Riser

Hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor release a large mount of energy into the surrounding ocean. Under normal circumstances heat rapidly dissipates as the plume entrains cold water. The feasibility of harnessing hydrothermal energy by trapping the plume in a thermally insulated conduit depends on the temperature, pressure and flow rate developed within the conduit. These quantities can be estimated numerically using a thermodynamic model of the boiling fluid as it ascends under the action of gravity.

Journal of Ocean Technology, Vol 5, No 1, (2010)

Working Group on Marine Geothermal Energy

Beneath the world's oceans there are ~60,000 km of mid-oceanic ridges (MORs) where tectonic plates are pulling apart. Wherever these have been explored hydrothermal vents (HTVs) have been found. It has been estimated that HTVs collectively dissipate tens of terawatts of geothermal energy none of which is presently utilized by mankind. In addition to MORs, HTVs are also found along volcanic arcs. Perhaps 10 percent of all HTVs are found along volcanic arcs.

HTVs must surely represent one of the world's last great untapped energy resources?

Report to ECOR (2008)

Sonic Shocks

Our modelling work has revealed that the speed of sound in wet steam can be as low as 23 m/s (80 kph). This means that sonic shock fronts form very readily in wet steam. We believe that some of the earthquakes (the big ones) associated with geothermal operations on land can be attributed to this origin.

It should be possible to suppress such shocks with a pressure reduction valve which maintains deep bore fluid in its liquid state.

Paper presnted to 35th Geothermal Reservoir Engineering Workshop (2010)


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