pure and applied geophysics

, Volume 117, Issue 1–2, pp 180–195

Geothermal energy prospects in Brazil: A preliminary analysis

  • V. M. Hamza
  • S. M. Eston
  • R. L. C. Araujo
Geothermal Potential

Abstract

Results of geothermal gradient measurements in 44 localities in Brazil are presented. The Precambrian shield areas are found to be characterized by relatively low temperature gradients in the range 6 to 20°C/km while younger sedimentary basins are characterized by gradients in the range 15 to 35°C/km. An inverse correlation between geothermal gradient and tectonic age has been observed. This as well as the favourable hydrological conditions suggest that the best sites for extraction of geothermal energy in Brazil are the younger sedimentary basins. The Parana Basin is found to offer at present the best site for extraction of geothermal energy in Brazil. Preliminary examination of the temperature distributions in the major aquifer (Botucatu sandstone) suggest that this aquifer contains substantial quantities of warm waters in the temperature range 40 to 90°C. The water layer in this confined aquifer is in convective motion and can be considered as a low enthalphy geothermal system. Many of the routine uses to which geothermal waters are put, such as space heating and soil warming, are not applicable in Brazil mainly because of the favourable climatic conditions. Conversion of this geothermal energy into electrical energy is also unlikely to be economical. Hence we do not consider the Parana Basin geothermal system as an independent ec9nomically exploitable energy resource. However, a few other applications are pointed out where geothermal waters can be used as a supplementary or supporting energy source in increasing the efficiency of economically viable systems utilizing hot waters.

Key words

Precambrian shield Parana sedimentary basin Low enthalpy geothermal system Geothermal gradients 

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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. M. Hamza
    • 1
  • S. M. Eston
    • 2
  • R. L. C. Araujo
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto Astronômico e GeofísicoUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrasil
  2. 2.Instituto de Pesquisas Tecnológicas, Cidade UniversitáriaSão PauloBrasil

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