A global database to mitigate seismic risks in geothermal projects


This novel tool provides crucial data to predict and mitigate earthquakes induced by subsurface fluid injection, boosting the safety of obtaining clean energy below the Earth's surface.

A research team at the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA, CSIC-UIB) has created a global, multidisciplinary database on the seismicity induced by subsurface fluid injection during clean energy production processes below the Earth's surface.

Specifically, the tool, published in Earth System Science Data, has as its main objective to boost research for the prediction and reduction of seismic risks in geoenergy projects around the world.




Foto:Global distribution of injection-induced seismicity cases included in the database


Geoenergy projects are a key player in the global energy transition due to their potential for reducing CO2 emissions to the atmosphere.

Geoenergy projects have become a key part of the energy transition, with a potential to reduce CO2 emissions by 20-30%.

However, the seismicity induced by these projects can have negative social and economic impacts. The new database, developed within the GEoREST project and funded by the European Research Council (ERC), collects crucial information on the physical properties of rocks and faults where seismicity has been induced. These data are essential for developing predictive tools to limit earthquakes perceptible by the population, thereby increasing safety.

"Injection-induced seismicity remains one of the major drawbacks of these geoenergy projects that can potentially have a huge social, environmental and economic impact," explains Iman Rahimzadeh Kivi, first author of the study. "This database includes the novelty of collecting the physical properties of the rocks and faults where seismicity has been induced. These properties play a very important role in the control of induced seismicity and, therefore, having this data available will contribute to the development of predictive tools to limit the occurrence of earthquakes that can be perceived by the population", adds Víctor Vilarrasa, IMEDEA scientist and leader of the research group.

For these geoenergy projects to be safely and sustainably deployed worldwide, the risks of induced earthquakes need to be predicted and minimized. The main drawback encountered by scientific teams in performing the analyses necessary to achieve this goal is the lack of integration of data from different scientific disciplines.

The new publicly accessible database contains nearly 4,000 data entries covering 71 different variables for 158 projects or project phases worldwide. These data, available in simple formats such as Excel and CSV files, will facilitate the analytical and numerical work of the global scientific community, helping to reveal temporal and spatial correlations between subsurface fluid injection and seismic activity.
and seismic activity.

The .xls and .csv files of the database are available in the institutional repository Digital.CSIC: https://doi.org/10.20350/digitalCSIC/14813 and on the project website: http://www.georest.eu.

This database has been developed within the GEoREST project, funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the EU research and innovation program of the Horizon2020 Framework Program, grant number 801809.


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