Perth could become the world's first geothermally cooled city with the goal of achieving zero emissions under a new $20 million Australian Government-funded CSIRO Geothermal project involving The University of Western Australia.
Leading UWA geothermal scientist Winthrop Professor Klaus Regenauer-Lieb said Perth Basin under the Swan Coast Plain had the ideal geological settings to aim for the goal of a zero emissions geothermal city.
Professor Regenauer-Lieb, Director of the WA Geothermal Centre of Excellence (WAGCOE), said the new project would aim to prove the large-scale viability of geothermal energy by cooling the new Pawsey Centre Supercomputer at the Australian Resources Research Centre (ARRC) in the Perth suburb of Kensington.
"The geothermal cooling project will significantly reduce water use through direct cooling of one of the world's most powerful computers with groundwater and thereby save over 38 million litres of water each year compared to the standard cooling tower solution," Professor Regenauer-Lieb said.
The CSIRO Geothermal project was among WAGCOE achievements celebrated this week at an ARRC event for partner organisations UWA, CSIRO, WA Government, Curtin University and industry.
WAGCOE successes included establishing Perth as one of the world's top five ‘geothermal cities' and the development of a 3-D computer model to illustrate a comprehensive geological assessment of the entire Perth Basin, which will act as a template for future geothermal activities in the region.
WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore said WAGCOE had been instrumental in making geothermal power part of WA's energy sector and its success would help to develop the state's future geothermal energy resources.
Professor Klaus Regenauer-Lieb said WAGCOE had strived to develop local geothermal solutions for Perth's growing energy needs.
"We provided a world-class research and training environment where scientists developed local solutions to revolutionise energy development in Western Australia, and contribute to the goal of powering zero-emission geothermal cities," he said.
"The new CSIRO Geothermal project will help to establish Perth as the first geothermally cooled city and we will work to advance the geothermal industry and make this vision a reality,"
Final WAGCOE reports are available here.