Physicists go deep underground at Sanford Lab to escape the constant bombardment of cosmic radiation, which creates far too much background noise for their sensitive physics experiments. But one experiment on the 4850 Level isn’t worried about that. SIGMA-V uses the depth to better understand geothermal energy.
Across the globe, scientists are working to refine geothermal energy systems. SIGMA-V wants to create predictive models that, ultimately, can make geothermal systems more effective. They are particularly interested in learning how a hard-rock environment, like that at Sanford Lab, can be used for geothermal energy.
“A typical geothermal system takes heat from the earth by extracting steam or hot water,” said Tim Kneafsey, principal investigator for the Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) Collab and a staff earth scientist with LBNL. But for that to happen, three things are needed: hot rock, fluid and permeability (the ability move fluid through rock).
Building on data collected from the recent kISMET experiment at Sanford Lab, the collaboration wants to expand its understanding of the rock stress. To do that, they developed and installed a special tool and equipment in several boreholes.