School of Mechanical & Mining Engineering

Queensland Geothermal Energy Centre of Excellence (QGECE) started in 2009 with four programs:

  • Heat Source Discovery – Explore and understand Queensland geothermal resource
  • Power Conversion – Power generation technologies/equipment optimized for our unique conditions
  • Heat Exchangers – Air-cooled condenser technologies for power plants in arid regions
  • Transmission – Options for connecting remote power generation to the Queensland grid

The Centre is funded by a $15m grant covering activities until June 2014.  Our focus is on geothermal power, but the outputs of our research have wider application as shown below.


Associated Research Centre

Queensland Geothermal Energy
Centre of Excellence

Staff

 

Dr Kamel Hooman
(Director, Heat Exchangers Program Leader)

Professor Hal Gurgenci

Dr Peter Jacobs
(Power Conversion Program Leader)

Professor Tapan Saha

(Transmission Program Leader)

Click here for a full list of staff and contact details.

 

Contact Details

Please direct all enquiries here

Current Research

The Renewable Power Generation Laborator to develop and test advanced geothermal power generation technologies - This facility will be a world-leading facility to develop new power cycles and power generation equipment not only geothermal but all renewable power and will be unique in Australia. It will have a high temperature/high pressure test loop for designing and testing advanced turbines for geothermal, solar thermal, biogas and waste heat applications.

Supercritical Turbines because they will increase power generation from a geothermal resource by up to 50%  - The above facility will be used to develop next-generation supercritical turbines in a collaborative research project with the US turbine manufacturer Verdicorp. A portable geothermal plant facility will be developed as part of this collaboration. This portable plant can be configured for other alternative power generation applications and will be used for biomass firing and waste heat recovery projects in the immediate future.

Air-Cooled Condensers (ACC) because without our research a future geothermal power plant in Queensland outback will waste 15% of its output on its own fans  - This research will eliminate this waste by developing new natural draft technology, presently not suitable for geothermal plants. We also expect to enhance performance on hot days by water sprays. This latter technology also applies to coal power plants. Filtered coal seam water could be a cheap water supply.

Metal-foam heat exchangers is a new QGECE-developed technology - Their use is expected to substantially improve the ACC performance (see previous topic). Another application is more efficient waste heat recovery from flue gases.

Queensland Heat Source Our studies have found evidence for significant shallower geothermal resource in addition to the hot rock resources in Cooper and Eromanga Basins. The shallower geothermal resource is more similar to convention geothermal reservoirs and has potential for remote area power generation as replacement of diesel generators.

Transmission Program is to identify the best approach to connect remote geothermal power plants to the existing high voltage transmission network. An agreement with the PowerLink helps us verify our models on the Queensland's transmission network.

Education The centre attracts outstanding students from many countries with their own scholarships. Our current cohort size is 23, with graduations already. Students are very active within the QGECE use is expected to substantially improve the ACC performance (see previous topic). Another application is more efficient waste heat recovery from flue gases.

Futher Details

For further information on Geothermal Energy research at The University of Queensland please see the Queensland Geothermal Energy Centre of Excellence website.