International roundup: Geothermal in Illinois, New Mexico, Canada, Africa, Australia, Indonesia and Belgium

Geothermal headlines from Illinois, New Mexico, Canada, Africa, Australia, Indonesia and Belgium.

Geothermal photos via the Twitter community
Geothermal photos via the Twitter community

Click below for the international geothermal roundup.

U.S. States

*Illinois: New Tower at O’Hare Gets Geothermal
Construction now completed at Chicago O’Hare International Airport includes geothermal heating and cooling as a green technology feature for the high-traffic airport’s newest air traffic control tower.

*New Mexico: University Researching Polymer for EGS Use
Researchers at New Mexico State University, with funding from DOE, are developing a new fracturing fluid for enhanced geothermal uses with an environmentally friendly polymer. “Our new fluid can make enhanced geothermal power production more viable,” Assistant Professor Kenneth C. Carroll told press (, “And, though we designed the fluid for geothermal energy, it could also make unconventional oil and gas recovery more environmentally friendly.” The fluid is made up of water and 1% polyallylamine, which is made of carbon and nitrogen and is similar to polymers used in medicine. The team is planning lab studies and ultimately a controlled field test.

The Americas

*Canada: Alberta Geothermal Research Gaining Support
Research at the University of Alberta led by Jonathan Banks is looking at 10 different potential geothermal development sites across the province, with the hopes that one of the sites could see a 5-MW demonstration plant by 2020. Contributions from the City of and County of Grande Prairie, the City of Hinton, and a tri-council from the Municipal Districts of Clearwater, Rocky Mountain House and Caroline, along with Alberta Innovates Energy and Environment Solutions have reached a total of $140,000 for the research.


*African Union Commission and New Zealand Government: Agreement Focuses on Geothermal Drilling Regulation for Deep Wells
A new agreement between African Union Commission and New Zealand Government will facilitate a Geothermal Drilling Code African Union member states. The AU code will be based on the New Zealand Standards SNZ2403:201. “The new African Union Commission Code of Practice will help to ensure increased professionalism and safety for deep geothermal well drilling starting with the Eastern African countries and will help countries make the most of their vast geothermal potential”, Commissioner Dr Elham Ibrahim told press.

Asia and the Pacific

*Australia: Direct-Use Projects Efficient and Economical in Perth
Perth has been using and building on its direct-use geothermal projects since 1997 with high success rate and expansive knowledge of the resources in the region, CSIRO Energy Flagship researcher Dr Ludovic Ricard told local press (Science Network Western Australia). “Now we know so much about geothermal energy in Perth, it’s possible to overcome minor, site-specific challenges and ensure each project is economical and a success,” he said.

*Indonesia: EIA Provides Country Summary
A new post on the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Web site provides a summary of the current geothermal energy market in Indonesia: its high potential of 29 GW of geothermal capacity reserves, the current policy changes geared toward increasing the country’s low electrification rate, and the attempts to unlock the challenges associated with the efforts. See


*Belgium: Drilling for Geothermal Underway in Antwerp
Drilling has begun in Antwerp province for the first phase of a large-scale deep geothermal energy project. The Flemish Institute for Technological Research (Vito) completed subsurface mapping and anticipates finding hot water at over 120 degrees Celsius at a depth of 3.5 km. The Flemish Smet Group drilling company and Germany’s THV Balmatt Drilling are working at Vito’s pilot project at its Balmatt site in Mol. Results are expected by December. “By 2050, we want to supply energy to the whole of the Kempen in Antwerp and Limburg, an area of about 1,600km2,” Geert De Meyer, Vito’s geothermal development manager told local press.

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