With the current transition in energy sources from fossil fuels to renewable energy to address the world’s climate change crisis, new attention is being paid to the uses and potential of geothermal energy. Geothermal energy has been used by humankind for millennia, but it has been overshadowed by faster growing renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. There are abundant geothermal resources throughout the US, but geothermal energy currently only provides a small fraction of the energy used in this country. This presentation will provide an introduction to geothermal energy, highlight its potential as an energy source, describe the techniques used for geothermal exploration, discuss some of the technical challenges that need to be overcome to make it more competitive, and explore some of the diverse applications for geothermal resources, including mineral recovery from geothermal brines.
Bio: Patrick Dobson is a geological staff scientist and the lead for the Geothermal Systems program at the Energy Geosciences Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), in Berkeley, CA, USA. He obtained his MS and PhD in Geology from Stanford University. After postdoctoral stints at Caltech and UC Santa Barbara, he worked for Unocal Corporation for ten years as a geologist for their research laboratory and geothermal group. Dr. Dobson joined LBNL in 2000, where he currently works on a variety of geologic and geochemical research projects associated with geothermal energy and geologic nuclear waste disposal. He is a fellow of the Geological Society of America.