The DIG project will address a key knowledge gap in geothermal energy, aiming to provide a better understanding of Ireland's deep geothermal resource potential

Project Insights

  • €775,606

    Total Project Costs
  • 4 yr

    Project Duration
  • 2019

    Year Funded

Project Description

Potential deep (greater than 400m) geothermal resources in low- to medium-temperature settings remain poorly understood and largely untapped in Europe. The DIG project will explore the potential for low-enthalpy geothermal energy on the island of Ireland by means of integrating multi-disciplinary, multi-scale geophysical, geological and geochemical data analysis and interpretation. Building on tested and validated methods and the rich and diverse datasets from previous and on-going successful Irish research projects (ISLE-MT, IRETHERM, G.O.THERM.3D, SWEMDI, Ireland Array, Tellus), DIG aims to (i) determine the regional geothermal gradient with uncertainty estimates across Ireland using new and existing geophysical (surface heat flow, active and passive seismics, magnetotellurics, magnetic and gravity anomalies) and geochemical-petrophysical datasets (radiogenic heat production and thermal conductivity), (ii) investigate the thermo-chemical crustal structure and secondary fracture porosity in Devonian/Carboniferous siliciclastic and carbonate lithologies within and adjacent to the Munster Basin, southern Ireland, using wide-angle seismic, gravity and geochemical datasets, (iii) identify and assess the available low-enthalpy geothermal resources at reservoir scale in the Munster Basin, i.e., Mallow warm spring case study, by joint interpretation of electromagnetic and passive seismic methods complemented by a structural geology and new hydrochemistry programme to characterise deep reservoir water composition in order to identify convective pathways and mixing zones using environmental tracers, and (iv) design and implement communication, dissemination and exploitation of the project results to a range of stakeholders (industry, agencies, public) together with the Geothermal Association of Ireland, Geological Survey Ireland (GSI), Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG) and SEAI.

Project Details

Total Project Cost: €775,606

Funding Agency: SEAI; Geological Survey Ireland (GSI)

Year Funded: 2019

Lead Organisation: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS)

Partner Organisation(s): University College Dublin (UCD)

Collaborators: University College Dublin (UCD); Earth Science Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences; University of Vienna; University of Sydney; Geophysical Consultant, The Geothermal Association of Ireland, UCC

Brian M. O'Reilly

Lead Researcher