Courtesy of Suzanne Tindal of ZDNet
National ICT Australia (NICTA) has been chosen to head
up a two-year $5 million project that will see big data analytics
used to locate geothermal energy sources beneath the earth's
Geothermal energy is an abundant, renewable energy source found
in hot rocks that are several kilometres underground. The heat
conducts to shallower rocks near the surface, where it can be
extracted by circulating water through the rocks. The heated water
can then be converted to electricity when it reaches the
Geoscience Australia, the national centre for geoscience
research, has estimated that 1 per cent of Australia's geothermal
energy could supply the country's annual requirements for 26,000
years. However, locating sources of it can be costly.
This is why the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy has set
up the project - to fund a team of university specialists from four
states to develop automated ways of finding energy sources, using
analytics and machine learning techniques instead of drills. The
team will be headed by NICTA.
"Australia has a wealth of geothermal energy resources, but they
are difficult to locate and access," NICTA CEO Hugh Durrant-Whyte
said in a statement. "We will apply NICTA's considerable expertise
in machine learning and big data analytics to create software to
address these challenges."
The other universities involved include the Australian National
University, the University of Melbourne and the University of
Adelaide. Also to take part are geothermal exploration firms
GeoDynanics and Petratherm, as well as GeoScience Australia and the
South Australian Department of Manufacturing, Innovation Trade
Resources and Energy, which will provide geothermal sensor data
sets and expertise.
The project is the first one to receive funding from the
Australian Government's $126 million Emerging Renewables