Low-Temperature Geothermal Resources: Relevant Data and PFA Methods to Reduce Development Risk: Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This project is part of a larger national effort focused on demonstrating the multi-faceted value of integrating low-temperature geothermal resources into national decarbonization strategies and community energy plans. Low-temperature geothermal resources are defined as reservoirs-natural or engineered-with temperatures < 150 degrees C. While the focus in the NREL effort is on geothermal heating and cooling (GHC), resources at the upper end of this temperature range can also be used for small-scale power generation. However, low-temperature geothermal resources have not been studied as extensively as higher-temperature geothermal resources. We identified three major classes of low-temperature geothermal play types: sedimentary basins, orogenic systems, and radiogenic systems. We developed workflows for evaluating the potential of these resources building off the Play Fairway Analysis (PFA) approach to de-risking geothermal exploration. This PFA-based approach to low-temperature geothermal resources includes: (1) identifying relevant data; (2) grouping and weighting of relevant datasets into PFA criteria (e.g., geological, risk, economic criteria); (3) developing favorability or common risk maps for low-temperature geothermal resources to identify potential locations for more focused data collection; and (4) estimating electric power generation and heating potential at those locations using the GeoRePORT Resource Size Assessment Tool. This project will facilitate future deployment of GHC by providing data, tools, and workflows applicable to low-temperature geothermal resources.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages32
StatePublished - 2023
EventGeothermal Rising Conference - Reno, NV
Duration: 1 Oct 20234 Oct 2023


ConferenceGeothermal Rising Conference
CityReno, NV

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5700-88705 for paper as published in proceedings

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5700-86889


  • favorability maps
  • geothermal heating and cooling
  • low-temperature
  • play fairway analysis


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