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Thursday, 03 December 2009 18:49

New Australian centre focuses on geothermal power for Perth

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The Western Australian Geothermal Centre of Excellence (WAGCOE) is a new research centre with a mission to develop new technologies aimed at sustainable, low-emission, geothermal cities. It begins its mission with the development of a 'geothermal city' in Perth.


Geothermal power is a type of power that is extracted by humans from heat stored within the Earth.

Heat is stored under the surface of the Earth from two primary sources: radioactive decay of minerals and from solar energy absorbed at the surface.

Geothermal power, sometimes also called “hot earth” power, is only a tiny percentage of the total amount of electricity generated each year around the world.

However, its ability to generate clean low-emission energy is increasingly attractive to replace dirty, environmentally unfriendly types of energy generation, such as fossil fuels.

The 12/3/2009 CSIRO article “New centre makes geothermal cities a hot prospect” states that the new Centre is a collaboration between CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) and The University of Western Australia, along with participation with Curtin University of Technology and support from the government of Western Australia.

The WAGCOE facility was established in Perth in February 2008 with state government funding of approximately $2.3 million. It was officially launched in June 2009.

Now, on Thursday, December 3, 2009, it was dedicated by Norman Moore, the Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum.

Learn more about geothermal power at “Geothermal Energy Facts.”

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The CSIRO article states that, “The Centre brings together researchers, industry, investors and government agencies to investigate how geothermal energy can be used to provide modern cities with air conditioning, power and desalinated water.”

The vision of the WAGCOE is “To provide geothermal zero-emission desalinated water, air conditioning and power to modern cities.”

And, its mission statement is: “Despite international efforts to curb greenhouse gases emissions, the world’s output of CO2 continues to increase. Some developed countries are still dependent on polluting energy sources such as coal, and developing countries increase their use of conventional CO2 emitting technologies to power their industrialization."

"By developing local solutions for the energy sector in Western Australia, the Centre acts as a seed for a global strategy to address the challenge of climate change.
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The location at Perth, the capital of Western Australia, is a very good spot to begin the development of geothermal cities.

The groundwater of the Perth Basin provides a good source of heat for homes and businesses around Perth. The city of Perth, the fourth largest city in Australia and the largest city in Western Australia, is located in the southwestern part of Western Australia.

Llaus Regenauer-Lieb is the new Centre’s director. Also a professor at the University of Western Australia, Dr. Regenauer-Lieb stated, “Our aim is to make Perth the first geothermally cooled city in the coming decade and we are working closely with geothermal lease holders, city planners and other stakeholders to advance the geothermal industry and make this vision a reality.”

Learn more about the Western Australian Geothermal Centre of Excellence at The University of Western Australia’s website “The Centre.”


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