The research conducted at the Geothermal Open Laboratory is aimed at gaining better understanding of underground heat transfer and flow phenomena for reducing technical risks of geothermal energy. It is an open access laboratory, modeled after open-source software.
The Geothermal Open Laboratory is used to measure the thermal and hydraulic properties of geological materials. The results of the analyses are recorded in a database on the thermal and hydraulic properties of different types of rock available on the Web three years after the analyses.
The Open Geothermal Laboratory is equipped with:
All this equipment is complementary to the INRS CT scanner and can be used together to combine infrared scanning and X-ray techniques, a first for a geothermal lab.
Independent and collaborative use of the lab’s equipment under the supervision of INRS staff is encouraged. Access to the lab is similar in spirit to open source software.
The instruments are made available to the entire scientific community. Researchers from outside INRS can perform their own analyses free of charge if they are willing to make their findings public three years after using the lab. The findings are recorded in a database made available on Google Sheets to create a public archive on the thermal and hydraulic properties of geological materials. Over time, this database will become a reference tool.
INRS staff can also prepare samples and perform analyses, but in that case, labour costs are charged. Access to the equipment itself is free in exchange for data sharing.
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Accurate characterization of thermal and hydraulic properties is required to develop complex heat transfer models. These mathematical models are used to simulate the operation of geothermal systems, from ground-coupled heat pumps for green buildings to deep reservoirs for power generation.
More specifically, the acquisition of new knowledge at the Open Geothermal Laboratory will be used to:
The study of heat transfer phenomena in Earth sciences and the characterization of the thermal and hydraulic properties of geological materials also find applications in the following areas:
These facilities have been funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Government of Quebec, and the Fonds de recherche du Québec — Nature et technologies (FRQNT). The lab is supported by the Institut nordique du Québec. Work done in the lab is part of the Canada Reseach Chair on Northern Geothermal Potential.
Research Partner : Institut nordique du Québec