Deep Geothermal Exploration in the Grampians using Satellite Data


Date: November 2022 – May 2023
Location: Scotland
Client: Public sector client
Stage: Research

One of the many barriers to commercial geothermal development is a lack of subsurface data to progress geothermal systems into the operational phase. To try and fill this data gap, TownRock Energy has assessed the deep geothermal potential of geothermally critical faults which intersect radiothermal granites in the northeast Grampian.  The research was funded as part of the Applying Space Data to the Net Zero Economy grant awarded from Scottish Enterprise.  The research was conducted in partnership with Astrosat who used SAR and optical satellite data to automatically select potential fault lineaments which intersect geothermally critical granites. 

We compared that data with mapped faults from the British Geological Survey to see if the datasets agreed with one another.  What we found was that the two datasets didn’t have a clear correlation; however, it opened the doors to a new and evolving research frontier.  There was some early indication that longer wavelength SAR data performs better than other satellite scenes. With further research into calibrating satellite algorithms while tuning surface geology and land use areas, satellite data can potentially be a crucial method to reduce the risks associated with geothermal project development.