Postgraduate Profiles

Florian Wellmann

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Thesis: Stability analysis of convective heat transport in hydrothermal and enhanced geothermal basin systems

In my PhD study, I want to identify the influence of hydrothermal convection to geothermal resources in sedimentary basin setting.

Advective transport in a convection system is a very effective heat transport mechanism. Its role in geothermal systems is well known and studied for high-enthalpy systems. Recent research suggests that convection also plays an important role in low-temperature hydrothermal and enhanced geothermal systems.

My work will concentrate on the Perth Basin, Western Australia. There is a large demand for energy in this area as the majority of Western Australian inhabitants live there.

First analyses show that the geological setting and the hydrogeological and geophysical properties of the basin rocks are very promising for geothermal applications and that hydrothermal convection can be expected. With my work, I want to contribute to the knowledge of the geometry, distribution and stability of these systems that are essential for an effective energy utilisation.

Why my research is important

In times of high demand for energy coupled with an awareness of global warming, the search for alternative, environmentally friendly energy sources is essential.

The use of geothermal energy, harvesting heat energy provided by the earth, can contribute greatly to reduce emissions and build a sustainable future energy supply. It is widely available and, most importantly, has base-load capabilities as it does not depend on sunshine or wind.

Still, the usage of geothermal energy is mainly underdeveloped. It is successfully applied in geologically beneficial areas (for example, plate boundaries with active vulcanism). The current quest is to find ways to reasonably use the geothermal energy in other areas around the world, such as the Perth sedimentary basin.

If this is successful, geothermal energy will become available in many parts of the world as a cornerstone of a sustainable energy future.

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