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Mighty River Power supports geothermal engineering research

6 September 2013

Mighty River Power supports geothermal engineering research

Energy generation company, Mighty River Power has pledged $1 million over the next five years to support the establishment of a chair in geothermal reservoir engineering at The University of Auckland.

This week, after an international search process, the University appointed Professor Rosalind Archer to hold both the Mighty River Power Chair in Geothermal Reservoir Engineering at the University and the directorship of the University’s Geothermal Institute.

She is the first woman to be appointed as a chair in engineering in New Zealand.

Professor Archer was earlier this year appointed as the head of the Department of Engineering Science at the University’s Faculty of Engineering where she has taught and contributed to research projects for 11 years. Her appointment to the chair brings with it a promotion from associate professor to professor.

“I want to extend my thanks to Mighty River Power for their support of the chair.” says Professor Archer. “It says a lot about the company’s commitment to geothermal in New Zealand.”

“I have also been appointed as the director of the Geothermal Institute and I look forward to growing the Institute as an interdisciplinary endeavour that addresses geothermal energy from many angles.”

“The Geothermal Institute is being rebuilt and re-launched after a hiatus of many years. The University's vision for the Institute is that it will be the first point of contact for any external party wanting to engage with the University on matters relating to geothermal energy,” she says. “I look forward to helping realise the potential the Institute has.”

The Deputy Dean at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Engineering, Professor Gordon Mallinson says, “The role of the chair is to provide leadership in research and education related to the exploration and utilisation of geothermal energy resources. A key element of this role is the Geothermal Institute of which Rosalind will be the director.”

“Rosalind brings to these positions considerable expertise in geothermal and petroleum reservoir modelling together with her experience as the leader of the faculty’s Energy Research theme.”

Professor Archer joined The University of Auckland’s Engineering Science Department in 2002 as a lecturer. Previously she was an acting assistant professor at Stanford University, and an assistant professor at Texas A&M University. Her research interests are in reservoir engineering of geothermal and petroleum reservoirs.

Professor Archer has a PhD in Petroleum Engineering with a PhD minor in Geological and Environmental Science from Stanford University, a Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering from Stanford University, and a Bachelor of Engineering in Engineering Science from The University of Auckland.

Professor Archer led The University of Auckland’s portion of a successful bid for $4.4 million funding for research into geothermal power from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment.

The grant to the ‘Geothermal Supermodels’ project supports research for the next four years and was awarded to a team combining The University of Auckland and GNS Science. The University will receive $1.45 million of this funding over the next four years.

The research aims to develop next generation integrated geothermal modelling tools capable of building models of multiple geothermal systems to better understand the interactions between them and their sustainability.

Outcomes from the research will include economic, social, environmental and scientific benefits to New Zealand through an improved ability to manage existing geothermal developments and a greater reliability to predict capacity and sustainability of future developments.


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