Estimate of Geothermal Energy Resource in Major U.S. Sedimentary Basins (Presentation): NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

Research output: NRELPresentation


This study estimates the magnitude of geothermal energy from fifteen major known US sedimentary basins and ranks these basins relative to their potential. Because most sedimentary basins have been explored for oil and gas, well logs, temperatures at depth, and reservoir properties are known. This reduces exploration risk and allows development of geologic exploration models for each basin as wellas a relative assessment of geologic risk elements for each play. The total available thermal resource for each basin was estimated using the volumetric heat-in-place method originally proposed by Muffler (USGS). Total sedimentary thickness maps, stratigraphic columns, cross sections, and temperature gradient Information were gathered for each basin from published articles, USGS reports, andstate geological survey reports. When published data was insufficient, thermal gradients and reservoir properties were derived from oil and gas well logs obtained on oil and gas commission websites. Basin stratigraphy, structural history, and groundwater circulation patterns were studied in order to develop a model that estimates resource size and temperature distribution, and to qualitativelyassess reservoir productivity.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NamePresented at the AAPG 2012 Annual Convention, 22-25 April 2012, Long Beach, California

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-6A20-55017


  • generation potential
  • geothermal
  • geothermal resource
  • geothermal resources
  • GIS
  • mapping
  • sedimentary basin
  • U.S.
  • United States


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