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Integrated Methods for Advanced Geothermal Exploration

Integrated Methods for Advanced Geothermal Exploration

English EN

Exploring Europe's geothermal resources

EU-funded researchers are well on their way to developing new methods to 'image' geothermal reservoirs with greater accuracy than ever before.


© Jan Hopman
Choosing where to drill is perhaps the most difficult decision to make in the geothermal industry. Thanks to painstaking research and development, the oil and gas industries make use of remarkable technologies that take advantage of recent advances in numerical models to reduce the drilling risk. Some of these technologies apply to geothermal exploration. In the EU-funded project IMAGE (Integrated methods for advanced geothermal exploration), however, a new methodology is being developed to maximise the chance to encounter a geothermal reservoir that can be extracted for electricity generation. Geothermal surveys rely on a variety of techniques to gather information that point to areas of high porosity and permeability as well as subsurface fault lines. These include methods such as ambient seismic noise correlation and magnetotellurics as well as down-hole logging tools. The IMAGE partners took geothermal exploration a step further. Several geophysical explorations beyond the current state of the art were tested in different regions of Europe. Through a series of geophysical surveys, they yielded a wealth of data on the spatial distribution of critical parameters of subsurface rock formations. Besides geophysical and geological field work, laboratory experiments have been carried out to investigate rock physical properties at supercritical conditions. The data complement the existing geochemical databases used by numerical models. Advanced reprocessing and modelling of the available data at regional and local scales are well on the way. The focus is on prediction of reservoir parameters such as temperatures, in situ stresses and fracture permeability that can be deduced. The data will be used to improve well-established geothermal exploration techniques. IMAGE involves 11 leading geothermal research institutes and 8industry partners from various European countries. Project results will contribute to the development of a reliable science-based exploration method for geothermal reservoirs.


Geothermal, reservoirs, numerical models, geothermal exploration, electricity, magnetotellurics

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 608553


Closed project

  • Start date

    1 November 2013

  • End date

    31 October 2017

Funded under:


  • Overall budget:

    € 13 402 774,21

  • EU contribution

    € 10 051 044,75

Coordinated by: