Geothermal Energy and the Role of the Geotechnical Professional

Craig Butterworth

Low entropy geothermal energy is an established renewable source of energy and has seen significant growth in Europe and USA, but limited uptake in Australia. With easy access to shallow groundwater and relatively easy drilling within the Perth region the use of shallow geothermal energy is considered by the author to be a viable technology in WA for public, commercial and residential developments. The design of shallow ground source energy schemes involves disciplines not normally associated with engineering services associated with heating and cooling, such as geology and hydrogeology. In addition, the cost and risk associated with the sub-structure component of ground energy schemes are normally significant and can make or break the adoption of the technology. This talk is intended as an introduction to shallow ground energy from a geotechnical engineer’s perspective and the role that the geotechnical industry could play in the development of this renewable energy initiative.


Craig Butterworth CMW Geosciences

Craig is a professionally qualified geotechnical engineer with over 25 years’ experience in Australia, New Zealand, UK and the Middle East. Much of his experience has been associated with urban development including high rise and deep basement projects. Craig currently acts as one of the technical leaders at CMW Geosciences, based in Perth, WA. Prior to moving to Australia from the UK he was involved in a number of ground energy schemes for commercial developments. Since arriving in Australia Craig has continued to promote the use of the technology in Australia.

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