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Geothermal Data Fusion

Posted by: data61

January 31, 2015

Did you know 1% of Australia’s geothermal energy could meet our power needs for 26,000 years?


Geothermal energy is not commercially utilised at scale in Australia because a paucity of data about geology at sufficient depth makes it extremely difficult to locate and expensive to extract.

Existing data provides only limited knowledge of geothermal targets and is often:

  • Held in many different places
  • Held in incompatible formats
  • Owned by different parties
  • Access restricted by commercial/privacy sensitivities.

Current methods for generating geological models have three main problems that Data61 seeks to overcome:

  • It is difficult or impossible to merge data from disparate sensors into a single model in a principled way.
  • Current models often require a large amount of human judgement and tuning.
  • It is difficult to estimate the uncertainty in current techniques, and these uncertainties themselves are rough estimates.

Data61 aims to solve the problem by developing software that will enable geothermal companies and government decision-makers to better understand what makes a good geothermal site and where the best target sites for geothermal resources are.

Data61 has developed software tools to:

  • Collate and unify different sources of data into one place and format
  • Generate better models of Australia’s sub-surface (ie. underground)
  • Understand the uncertainty in those models arising from the input data
  • Find new regions with geothermal energy potential
  • Characterise identified geothermal sites to enable better drilling strategies and locations
  • Provide quantitative risk assessments, taking into account uncertainties in the data sources.

The initial target for this technology is the geothermal community and Government resources agencies. Additionally, as the tools being developed are widely applicable, Data61 anticipates eventually being able to tap into the large global market for geological/geophysical modelling software.


Geoscience Australia
Government of South Australia – Department for Manufacturing, Innovations, Trade, Resources and Energy
Geodynamics Limited
State Government Victoria
University of Sydney
University of South Australia
University of Melbourne
Australian National University

Download the Geothermal Data Fusion brochure.