Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Revamped geothermal laboratories open for business

6 August 2014

Revamped geothermal laboratories open for business after $4M upgrade

New Zealand’s only full service geothermal and groundwater laboratory, unique in the Southern Hemisphere, opened for business this week after a $4 million upgrade.

The 1100 square metre facility, at GNS Science’s Wairakei campus north of Taupo, houses multiple specialist laboratories. This includes the New Zealand Geothermal Analytical Laboratory, the GNS Science Extremophile Laboratory, and other specialist analytical facilities.

There have been laboratories on the site since the 1940s and earlier facilities were integral to the development of the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station in the 1950s and 1960s. More recently, they have played a crucial role in the renaissance of geothermal energy since 2004.

The revamped facility was officially opened today by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce.

The laboratories had been completely overhauled to maintain GNS Science’s international leadership in providing first-rate analytical services for the geothermal and groundwater industries, said Head of the Geothermal Sciences Department at GNS Science, Greg Bignall.

“The New Zealand Geothermal Analytical Laboratory is without peer in the Southern Hemisphere. Its mix of research and commercial work supports geothermal energy operators in New Zealand, iwi, and regional councils in their geothermal exploration and development initiatives, in environmental monitoring, and also for power station efficiency and consenting needs,” Dr Bignall said.

The investment in the upgrade would ensure the highest scientific standards were available to support the growth of the geothermal energy industry in New Zealand into the future, he said.

Geothermal energy contributes about 15 percent of New Zealand’s baseload electricity generation and scientists believe there is potential to double this by 2025.

As well as servicing the New Zealand geothermal energy industry, the facility assists geothermal energy development in the Philippines, Indonesia, East Africa, Peru, and Chile.

Called the Wilson Building, the facility is home to 15 staff plus PhD students from New Zealand and overseas who benefit from working closely with internationally ranked scientists.

Contained within the facility is the GNS Science Extremophile Laboratory, which has a collection of about 1500 strains of micro-organisms that live in the geothermal and volcanic areas of the central North Island.

The microbes represent New Zealand’s largest and most thoroughly researched collection of extremophiles. GNS Science researchers have collected the micro-organisms from hot springs and other volcanic areas in the Taupo Volcanic Zone over the past 10 years.

The microbes thrive at high temperatures, in highly acidic or strongly alkaline environments, and in high concentrations of heavy metals – conditions that would kill other life forms.

Dr Bignall said research on extremophiles, and their bioactive compounds, had led to exciting developments in applied science.

“Pilot projects have shown that they can benefit a wide range of industrial processes, help remediate contaminated land, and help make a new generation of pharmaceuticals.”

The GNS Science extremophile group had strong industry and scientific linkages both in New Zealand and internationally and was well placed to ensure that New Zealand could benefit when commercial spinoffs arise from this work.

The upgraded Wilson Building is named after pioneer geothermal scientist Stuart Wilson, who was a prominent figure in the development of New Zealand’s geothermal industry for nearly half a century from the 1930s onwards. He was known for exceptional innovation and rigorous scientific methods. Staff working in the upgraded facility are proud to continue his legacy.

Key points:
• The upgrade occurred over 18 months and was done in stages to minimise interruptions to workflow and productivity
• The lab equipment has been upgraded to industry best standards, and there have been accompanying improvements to workflow and procedures
• The 'new' facility is capable of a wider range of analyses and can do them with more precision than before
• It has a higher output, so turnaround times have been reduced
• The NZ Geothermal Analytical Lab (NZGAL) analyses about 8500 fluid and gas samples each year
• The Lab has analysed samples from every geothermal field in New Zealand
• Nine countries routinely send samples to the Lab for analysis
• The Lab can analyse for 30 different elements or compounds, and is capable of other specialist measurements to meet client needs
• Its unique attribute is the combination of sophisticated analyses and expert interpretation of the results. This is invaluable to the geothermal industry in New Zealand.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Media: Fairfax Moves To Create Modern Newsroom

Fairfax Media New Zealand continues its newsroom transformation this week, with a proposal to further organise its editorial operations into focused, local teams and specialist national topic areas. More>>

ALSO:

Dairy: Fonterra Forecast For 2015/16 Season

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited has today reduced its forecast Farmgate Milk Price for the 2014/15 season to $4.40 per kgMS. Along with its previously announced forecast dividend range of 20-30 cents per share, the change amounts to a forecast ... More>>

ALSO:

BusinessDesk: SkyCity Lifts Minimum Convention Centre Investment To $430M

SkyCity Entertainment Group, the casino operator, has lifted the minimum it will invest in the Auckland International Convention Centre to $430 million and said total costs including land may be $450 million to $470 million. More>>

Statistics: Drop In Dairy Prices Leads Fall In Exports

Total goods exports fell $240 million (5.5 percent) to $4.2 billion in April 2015 compared with April 2014, Statistics New Zealand said today. More>>

BusinessDesk: APN's NZME Sees Future In Paywalls, Growth In Digital Sales

APN News & Media has touted a single newsroom concept for its NZME unit in New Zealand, similar to what Germany's Die Welt uses, saying an 'integrated sales proposition' is helping it win market share, including ... More>>

Labour Party: Global Milk Prices Now Lowest In 6 Years

The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices ... More>>


BusinessDesk: NZ Inflation Expectations Creep Higher In June Survey

May 19 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand businesses lifted their expectations for inflation over the next two years, sapping any immediate pressure on the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates, and prompting the kiwi dollar to jump higher. More>>

BusinessDesk: Lower Fuel Costs Drive Down NZ Producer Input, Output Prices

May 19 - Producer input and output prices fell in the first quarter, mainly reflecting lower fuel costs and weakness in prices of meat and dairy products. More>>

Media: Fairfax Media NZ Announces Senior Editorial Team

Fairfax Media New Zealand has today confirmed its new editorial leadership team, as part of a transformation of its newsrooms aimed at enhancing local and national journalism across digital and print. More>>

Science: Flavonoids Reduce Cold And Cough Risk

Flavonoids reduce cold and cough risk Research from the University of Auckland shows eating flavonoids – found in green tea, apples, blueberries, cocoa, red wine and onions – can significantly reduce the risk of catching colds and coughs. The research, ... More>>

BusinessDesk: RBNZ House Alert Speech The Catalyst For Government Action

Prime Minister John Key all but conceded that pressure from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand for concerted action on rampant Auckland house prices was one of the main catalysts for the government's weekend announcements about tightly ... More>>

BusinessDesk: How To Fall Foul Of The New Housing Tax Rules: Tips From IRD

Just because you rented out your investment property doesn't absolve you from paying tax, says the Inland Revenue Department in a summary of commonly made mistakes by non-professional property investors when it comes to their tax liability.More>>

Legal: Superdiversity Law, Policy And Business Stocktake Announced

Mai Chen, Managing Partner at Chen Palmer New Zealand Public and Employment Law Specialists and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Auckland, today announced the establishment ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news