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According to a 2010 Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) report, some 70 countries worldwide have geothermal projects under development or consideration. In addition to the key government and industry leaders who are propelling the global geothermal industry forward, many students and individuals, both in the U.S. and internationally, are engaged in geothermal research around the world. A few of these individuals, and the projects they are working on, are featured here. (If you are a student or individual involved in international geothermal work who would like to be featured, email Alison@geo-energy.org.)
Name: Andrés Ruzo, PhD Student
School: Southern Methodist University (Dallas, Texas)
Project Location: Perú

Andrés Ruzo is currently working towards a Ph.D. in geophysics under Dr. Dave Blackwell at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas. For his dissertation, Andrés is doing geothermal research in Peru in order to raise geothermal awareness, create a better understanding of how to conduct geothermal studies, and to help lay the foundations for a geothermal industry. Funding for this research has come from the Telios Corporation, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), and the National Geographic Society. He is also a National Geographic Young Explorer. More information about Andres and his research, as well as a video link, can be found at:

Photo of Andrés Ruzo by Sofia Ruzo

Name: Joseph Batir, PhD Student
School: Southern Methodist University
Project location: Hellisheidi Geothermal Field, Iceland

I am making a stress state model for well HN-16 at the Hellisheidi Geothermal Field in Iceland with my collaborators Dr. Nicholas Davatzes at Temple University and Dr. Ragnar Asmundsson and HeatRD. I have analyzed Borehole Televiewer data for natural fractures and drilled induced structures and used this data to construct a preliminary stress model with the help of my collaborators. The drilling induced structures give an indication of stress direction and are used in modeling stress magnitudes; additionally, the natural fractures can be put into the modeled stress state and analyzed for likelihood of slip. Data collection is ongoing to understand the way the stress field changes with time in a geothermal system and how production and injection can be optimized through knowledge of the stress.

Photo: Hellisheidi Geothermal Field, Iceland, courtesy Joeseph Batir

Name: Lotanna Somadina Ufondu, MSc Student
School: Technische Universität, Darmstadt, Germany
Project Location: Nigeria

Geothermal Potentials of the Middle and Lower Benue Trough, Nigeria

The thermal history of the Benue Trough, Nigeria offers an ideal opportunity to determine its geothermal potentials for the generation of electricity and cooling of buildings. This master thesis research concentrates on the Lower and Middle Benue Trough. The quality of a good geothermal reservoir is determined by its porosity, permeability, thermal conductivity and thermal diffusivity. Therefore an indirect method was used to measure and analyze these parameters. The core samples used for this research were obtained from outcrops, quarry sites, mining sites and borehole within the study area. The samples analyzed include; limestone, sandstone, dolerite and pyroclastic rocks. The porosity measurements were achieved with the combination of the ACCUPYC II gas pycnometer and Geopyc 1360 powder pycnometer. The permeability of the samples were determined using Mini-permeameter; an equipment which gives anisotropic permeability values in 3- dimension (x, y and z) and the Column permeability was used to determine the intrinsic permeability values of the rock samples. The geothermal potential of the study area was assessed based on the results from the thermo-petro-physical parameters of the core samples. The result from this assessment shows that the study area is overlain mostly by rocks of high to moderately favorable geothermal potential. Further and more detailed research will be carried out as a PhD research with the aim to identify and characterize the reservoirs of the high geothermal potentials in the study area through a more detailed approach and improved methodology.

Additional details available in PDF format here.

Photos: (top)The Outcrop on the Quarry Pit at Umuaghara; (bottom) Jangerigeri Volcanic Outcrops, courtesy Lotanna Somadina Ufondu