RSE3242 - Geothermal energy - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Department of Civil Engineering

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Jeff Walker


Dr Stuart Walsh

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


ENG2005, EAE2511 and CIV2242


This unit offers students a practical introduction to all aspects of geothermal energy. The course covers the development of geothermal energy sources for power (from exploration to development and production), as well as alternative uses for these resources. Students will learn about the fundamental processes involved in heat and mass transport in the subsurface, as well as the physics and chemistry involved in electricity production. The course also covers recent developments in geothermal energy - new drilling techniques, enhanced geothermal systems, mineral co-production and low-temperature geothermal systems. Students will also be provided with an introduction to the economics surrounding geothermal energy systems.


On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Understand and discuss fundamental concepts in all aspects of geothermal engineering, from exploration to development and energy production.
  2. Apply the underlying theories, concepts and assumptions concerning heat and mass transport to practical geothermal problems.
  3. Describe the impact of brine geochemistry on geothermal systems, its role in resource classification, scale and corrosion, and mineral co-production.
  4. Estimate power production from simple geothermal systems.
  5. Assess economic factors affecting geothermal energy production, and compare the performance of geothermal systems to other energy sources.
  6. Analyse and critically evaluate emerging geothermal technologies.


Continuous Assessment: 20%

Project Report: 30%

Final Exam: 50%

Students are required to achieve at least 45% in the final exam and an overall mark of 50% to achieve a pass grade in the unit. Students failing to achieve this requirement will be given a maximum of 45% in the unit.

Workload requirements

2 hours lectures, 2 hours practical classes, and 8 hours of private study per week.

See also Unit timetable information