Geothermal Potential of Jamaica

- Status of Development
Suresh Bhalai
MINES AND GEOLOGY DIVISION Ministry of Energy and Mining Hope Gardens, Kingston 6

OUTLINE

GEOTHERMAL ENERGY?  Geothermal Resource vs Conventional Power Resources  Current Production Methods JAMAICA - GEOTHERMAL ENVIRONMENT  Geology  Status of geothermal development  Exploration guides
 Further exploration  Known areas

 Exploitation technique  Some considerations – benefits and barriers

GEOTHERMAL ENERGY?
 Geothermal: „geo‟ = earth; „thermal‟ = heat
“heat from the earth”

 Earth abounds in thermal energy.  Heat generated from breakdown of naturally occurring radioactive materials.

 Heat is present everywhere beneath the surface.
 Heat rises to the surface and escapes to the atmosphere.  „Renewable‟ OR Sustainable?

????

Geothermal environments:
High- and moderate-temperature rocks with considerable available water and (or) steam are the only geothermal environments that can currently be developed to generate electricity.

Geothermal Energy
as a

Resource

Geothermal Energy as a Mineral Resource

SIMILARITIES
 Occur everywhere,  Anomalous concentrations are favourable,  Have measurable GRADE and SIZE  Economic deposits – those at depths accessible by current extraction technology while remaining cost efficient. 80°C 180°C

LOW GRADE

MEDIUM GRADE

HIGH GRADE

Geothermal Energy as a Mineral Resource

CHARACTERISTICS
Extractive process

MINERAL RESOURCES
digging, crushing and processing of large quantities of earth material
mine shafts, tunnels, pits and spoil heaps

GEOTHERMAL ENERGY
Liquid (brought to surface by hot springs or wells)
Drilled wells

Extractive method

Economic characteristics

Size and/or grade determines profitability and efficiency of operation

Usable over a very wide spectrum of temperature and volume

Geothermal Energy vs Conventional Power Resources

 Environmentally benign – low emission
• Hot water and steam plant: <1% NOx, ~1%SO2, 5% CO2 of gases from coal-fired plants.

 Land area requirements – varies with local reservoir conditions
• • Well-field for 100 Mw may require 200 – 2,000 ha. Visual and noise impact and risks of production-related accidents similar to other power development.

 Waste disposal – formerly disposed of in ponds and rivers
• Injected back into subsurface.

 Recreational features
• Subsurface depletion can affect the rate of flow and vigor of natural features.

Geothermal Energy vs Conventional Power Resources
CO2 EMISSIONS

Similar contrasts for the emission of sulphurous gases

Geothermal Energy vs Conventional Power Resources

RELIABILITY
 Once online geothermal power plants are very reliable
 Off-line ~5% (avg.) of the time.

CLIMATE CHANGE

 Geothermal energy is an environmentally-friendly option.

Current Production Methods

Hot Water Hydrothermal System

Vapour-dominated Hydrothermal System

Moderate Temperature Hydrothermal System

STATUS OF GEOTHERMAL DEVELOPMENT IN JAMAICA
HISTORY/ STATUS OF DEVELOPMENT
 Late 1600s: Bath, St. Thomas,  Mid-1700s: Milk River Bath  1950s – Geological Survey Department  1980s:
• • • • • Preliminary examinations OLADE – Latin American Energy Organization, 1982 Ittracon – 22 Springs in tourist areas Occidental Geothermal Inc. – Blue Mountain area Geological Survey Division

 OLADE Summary report available.

Jamaican Geology

JAMAICAN GEOLOGY
JAMAICA - >65 million years ago

JAMAICA - TODAY

JAMAICA - STRUCTURE

Exploration Guides

EXPLORATION GUIDES

EXPLORATION GUIDES

 Position on the Caribbean Plate = low – moderate resources

EXPLORATION GUIDES
Hot/ warm springs

Potentially water-bearing rocks and structures

GEOTHERMAL RESOURCES

Subsurface temperature anomalies

Seismic zones

EXPLORATION GUIDES
POTENTIAL AREAS:
 Faulted rocks older than the White Limestone,

White Limestone

 Boundary between different older rocks, especially intrusive igneous rocks.

Shale

Yellow Limestone Sandstone

Dacite

Conglomerate

Granodiorite

Andesite

Marble

Serpentinite

# 1

NAME Guava River Spring Bath Spring

TEMP °C 53 54

FLOW litres/sec 0.3 0.3

EXPLORATION GUIDES

2

3
4 5 6 7 8

Mt. Felix Spring
Garbrand Hall Spring Rockfort Spring Ferry Hill Spring Salt River Spring Milk River Springs

31
29 30 25 33 38

0.3
1.5 <50 >50 100 – 200 40 – 50

9
10

Black River Spring
Windsor Spring Yankee River Spring Buxton Spring

29
36 26 29

45 – 50
0.5 0.5 1.2

10

11 12

12 11

2
3
6

9

4

1
1 2 3

5
8 7

4

EXPLORATION GUIDES
# NAME TEMP °C FLOW litres/sec

LIMITATION:  Low possibility of abnormally high heat flow,  Little information on geothermal gradients,  Low flow rates,  Contamination by seawater

1
2 3 4 5 6 7

Guava River Spring
Bath Spring Mt. Felix Spring Garbrand Hall Spring Rockfort Spring Ferry Hill Spring Salt River Spring

53
54 31 29 30 25 33

0.3
0.3 0.3 1.5 <50 >50 100 – 200

8
9 10 11 12

Milk River Springs
Black River Spring Windsor Spring Yankee River Spring Buxton Spring

38
29 36 26 29

40 – 50
45 – 50 0.5 0.5 1.2

EXPLORATION TECHNIQUE

 Binary systems would be most suitable

Waterbearing rocks and structures

Some Considerations

SOME CONSIDERATIONS
EXPLORATION PROGRAM:
 Joint Government-Private coupled program,
 Successful in the USA,  Local knowledge combined with experience,  Reduces financial and discovery risks associated with exploration,  Research direction: develop techniques and strategies to identify hidden systems at greater depths.

SOME CONSIDERATIONS

CHALLENGES:  Are our resources within economically drillable depths?  What is the state of the subsurface energy system?

REFERENCES
 Duffield, W. A. and Sass, J. H., 2003, Geothermal Energy – Clean Power from the Earth‟s Heat. U. S. Geological Survey, Virginia, Circular 1249, 36pp.  Hylton, H. A., 1987, Mineral Springs of Jamaica. Geological Survey Division, Kingston Bulletin No. II, 69pp.

 Jamaica Public Service, 2007, JPS – An Overview. JPS, Kingston, unpublished report, 14pp.
 Latin American Energy Organization, 1982, Geothermal Resource Exploration, Reconnaissance, Review and Utilisation Report. Geological Survey Division, Kingston, unpublished report, 169pp.

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