We offer a product suite with modelling capabilities for many industries, including Leapfrog Geothermal for the geothermal energy sector.

Geothermal energy is heat from the earth

Geothermal energy is now being harnessed by regions world-wide as an affordable, clean, and sustainable energy source. The interactive map below shows the geothermal 2017 electrical generating capacities per country:

Data from ThinkGeoenergy. This interactive heat-map was created using the free program OpenSourceMap. 

Geothermal energy is produced from the release of thermal energy from the centre of the earth. This heat escapes from the earth’s interior in areas where the crust is thin, or where there is significant collision (generally along tectonic plate boundaries like the Ring of Fire). We can see proof of geothermal energy on the earth’s surface in spectacular natural displays like volcanoes, geysers, and hot springs.

The geothermal industry harnesses this naturally occurring heat as energy, and captures it using a variety of methods:

  • Harnessing geothermal resources for power generation. Currently, the most common way of capturing geothermal energy is by using steam and liquid from geothermal reservoirs to drive electrical generators.
  • Direct use of geothermal heat. The hot water from below the earth’s surface can be directly used for heating. It can be used to heat buildings, de-ice roads, heat spas, and heat water at fish farms. In Iceland, almost all their buildings are heated with geothermal water.
  • Ground-source heat pumps. Geothermal heat pumps can heat and cool buildings by circulating air or liquid underground – taking advantage of the constant temperatures below the earth’s surface year-round.

Our product: Leapfrog Geothermal

Leapfrog Geothermal was designed specifically for the geothermal industry, to help discover and manage geothermal energy resources. This product was developed in collaboration with the New Zealand geothermal community, one of the earliest large scale users of geothermal energy.

Leapfrog Geothermal is the becoming the software of choice for the industry, with 50% of the largest geothermal operators using it. The product is specifically used for geothermal resource evaluation, geothermal model review and maintenance, well planning for exploration, development and reservoir management, integration with TOUGH2 for reservoir simulation, 3D fault planning, and management of future development strategies.

Our impact on the world

Jeremy O’Brien, Business Development Manager – Geothermal Energy, has crunched some numbers to show the potential impact Leapfrog Geothermal has had on the world.

(Please note these numbers are rough estimates – as Jeremy did these calculations on the back on an envelope one morning during breakfast)

Based on the current geothermal users, Leapfrog Geothermal is keeping ~40% of the currently installed geothermal capacity worldwide running*. This is about ~5,400 MW / year of electricity generation: or the equivalent of powering 5,400,000 homes in New Zealand for a year. (This is actually more than 3 times as many households as there actually are in New Zealand as of September 2017.)

Geothermal plants only create approximately 200 grams / kW hour C02, (there are large variations across the globe) while other power plants create a significant amount more:

  • Gas-fired stations: ~400 grams / kW hour C02
  • Coal / oil plants: ~950 grams / kW hour C02

This means geothermal plants, when replacing these energy generation methods, provide a 50% and 78% decrease in generated C02 respectively.

In most places Leapfrog Geothermal is used, geothermal energy is replacing coal energy generation. So if we assume 100% of the geothermal energy is replacing coal… That means Leapfrog Geothermal is involved in reducing over 30 million tonnes of C02 emissions every year.

The future of Geothermal Energy

The renewable energy industries are growing after the signing of the Paris Agreement in December 2015, with geothermal specifically receiving support from the Global Geothermal Alliance. This group pledged to support a five-time increase in the industry’s global installed geothermal capacity by 2030. This industry is on the cusp of becoming a leading source of clean, renewable energy.

As a leading provider of geothermal software, we are ready to help the industry realize its goals in the upcoming years. There’s an exciting future ahead for geothermal energy – one we want to be a part of.

*Editor’s note: We would like to clarify that Leapfrog Geothermal is supporting companies who operate ~40% of the currently installed geothermal capacity worldwide.

Learn more

To read more about geothermal energy: