Renewable Energy Center

Geothermal

Geothermal Energy

The Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy in the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering was formed in response to congressional initiatives for accelerated development of renewable energy sources in the western United States. 

Research within the group has concentrated on the geosciences, including structural geology, seismology, gravity/magnetics, geodesy, geochemistry, and remote sensing focussed on exploration for new geothermal systems and understanding favorable regional settings. Funded research has worked to develop and refine approaches to identify potential new systems, create genetic occurrence models for systems in the Basin and Range, and model reservoir fluid and heat transport . Research results have led to the discovery of several new geothermal systems as well as a better understanding and characterization of geothermal systems in the Great Basin. Engineering research looks at heat exchange, evaporation and condensation to improve plant efficiency and new materials to improve wear and corrosion resistance of pipeline materials.

Industry-University Partnerships

The Center for Geothermal Energy engages in both basic and applied research programs that enhance the discovery, efficiency and recovery of geothermal resources and their utilization through cutting edge geoscience and engineering programs. We are actively engaged with all local geothermal industry partners, the Geothermal Energy Association, the Geothermal Resources Council, the Nevada Geothermal Council, and the Nevada Division of Minerals.

Creating an Educated Workforce

Faculty in the Center for Geothermal Energy will train a new generation of geoscience, engineering and business leaders in all aspects of geothermal energy production. We contribute through the education of undergraduate and graduate students, partnerships with industry and community colleges, and the formation of an interdisciplinary Renewable Energy Minor. Center faculty participate in this minor through core curriculum and senior capstone classes related to geoscience and engineering. The Center for Geothermal Energy is leading the National Geothermal Academy, the first-ever comprehensive program that brings together world-class experts to teach all elements of geothermal energy from resource discovery to utilization, including drilling, reservoir engineering, plant design, environmental impact and applicable business principles. 

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Current and Pending Support

Geothermal Support