A sampling operation at a geothermal well (Iceland, 2008). © BRGM - Niels Giroud

“I was attracted by the sheer diversity of geosciences topics”

01.28.2013
Simon Lopez, 32, BRGM geothermal modelling engineer.

Portrait Simon Lopez

“Since my doctorate in 2003 and my post-doc research with IFREMER and the IFP, I’ve specialised in reservoir modelling applied to petroleum prospecting and production. I was attracted by the field of energy and the geosciences, and in September 2007 I joined the BRGM, where I’m involved in the great geothermal energy adventure!

Like petroleum, geothermal energy isn’t a discipline in itself but it draws on the whole body of knowledge in the geosciences and engineering: geology, hydrodynamics, thermal engineering, geomechanics, geochemistry and more. Our teams are closely-knit so we’re quick to address different issues that are never far removed from practical applications.

I’ve worked at the Bouillante geothermal plant, where a BRGM subsidiary produces 5% of Guadeloupe’s electrical power. We have to finds answers to very pragmatic questions that are useful not only to researchers but also to local authorities and industries. We also make assessments of geothermal potential in different regions in the world.

We’re addressing the increasing demand for clean energy, but we also find solutions to optimise its use. In the Paris basin, for example, we took over earlier studies to assess the potential of deeper Triassic aquifers, so that the geothermal systems could be used on a permanent basis. I’m also involved in a project for seasonal “geostorage” of heat in the Paris region. This would help to reduce the amount of heat needed from CO2-emitting power plants during peak demand periods in winter.

Generally speaking, our activities on geothermal applications are very varied and also multidisciplinary. Geothermal applications use heat from the past to help build a promising future. There’s still a lot to learn and we need to be inventive to use its potential fully and make it a fully-fledged energy supply option for the future.”

PROFILE

Simon graduated from the Paris Ecole des Mines engineering school, where he studied Earth Sciences as a special subject. As an engineer with a PhD in science, he specialises in modelling petroleum reservoirs. He recently joined the BRGM where he is involved in developing geothermal energy for the future.

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