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GeoEnergia: Deep geothermal (GeoEnergia-GP)

The aim of the new project Deep Geothermal (GeoEnergia-GP) of the ICGC is to advance towards the quantification on the available base energy resources

The aim of the new project Deep Geothermal (GeoEnergia-GP) of the ICGC is to advance towards the quantification on the available base energy resources and theoretically recoverable in specific areas identified on on the map of Geothermal Resources of Deep Origin in Catalonia (RGOPCat): synthesis of their potential (ICGC, 2022).


To advance in the knowledge of the resources in these big areas, the project contemplates two phases:

Phase I. Treatment of uncertainty and preparation of the first calculation of available energy resources.

  • Recognition through preliminary geophysical techniques (gravimetry, magnetotelluric) and rock sampling to characterize the petrophysical properties.
  • Construction of 3D geological and thermal models of reservoirs.
  • Probabilistic quantification of energy and presentation of maps using the volumetric method and Monte Carlo simulations with the 3DHIP-Calculator software.

 Phase II. Reduction of uncertainty and definition of specific projects to tap geothermal energy.

  • Launch new detailed geophysics surveys (seismic reflection in order to update the last ones carried out in Catalonia 50 years ago) and make new drillings.
  • Analysis and proposals for exploitation projects, with the simulation of exploitation scenarios.


The project, autumn 2020, is currently in Phase I. For the period CP III 2019-2022, the ICGC considers the study of the following areas where the available energy resources will be evaluated:

  • Area of the Empordà basin (Girona). Lower Eocene carbonate aquifer.
  • Area of the Reus-Valls basin (Tarragona). Mesozoic sedimentary aquifers.
  • Area of the Vallès Occidental basin (Barcelona). Can Tintoré hydrothermal aquifer.
Deep Geothermal Potential Assessment (3DHIP Calculator)

Tool to perform geothermal resource assessment maps of deep hot aquifers from 3D geological and thermal voxel models, by means of the “Heat In Place” method using Monte Carlo simulations

More information

Geothermal as a geological resource

Working methodology

The working methodology follows the following stages:

  1. Collection and acquisition of new field data: geophysical surveys and/or field sampling with the execution of laboratory analyzes to determine petrophysical and thermal properties.
  2. 3D geological, geophysical and thermal modeling of the reservoir by combining of various software (GOCAD, 3DGeomodeller, MOVE)
  3. Calculation of the geothermal potential of the base resource available and recoverable using the new 3DHIP-Calculator software (Piris et al. 2020)
  4. Classification of the geothermal system according to the geological and structural context, the origin of the heat source and the dominant heat transport mechanism according to the “Catalog of geothermal play types” defined by Moeck (2014), Moeck and Beardsmore (2014) and Moeck et al., (2015, 2019).
  5. Pre-analysis and modeling of specific projects from which it could be derived (DoubleCalc2D and /or Leapfrog and FEFLOW) and classification of the resource according to the UNFC-2009 scheme (UNECE & IGA, 2016)


General calculation methodology to determinate the geothermal potential of the disponible and recoverable base resource

To estimate the geothermal potential of a geothermal reservoir in the preliminary exploration phases, the calculation methodology developed by the USGS known as “USGS Heat in Place” is applied. It is currently the method used internationally to quantify the uncertainty in the estimations in the preliminary study phases of a geothermal resource.

The USGS "Heat in place" method, also known as the volumetric method, uses variables such as reservoir temperature, re-injection temperature, area and thickness, volumetric thermal capacity, porosity and thermal recovery factor of a geothermal reservoir, among others. Due to the volumetric method is based on estimated data of the reservoir, it requires a model that uses a probabilistic approach by using Monte Carlo simulations assigning different probability distributions to the input variables. Thus, the results are expressed as probable values of potential of a geothermal resource.

The 3DHIP-Calculator software has been developed by the ICGC in collaboration with the Department of Geology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), as a tool to estimate the geothermal potential of deep aquifers directly on 3D geological models and with a probabilistic approach. Although the main user of this application is the ICGC itself, the stand-alone application can be freely download, being the main recipients other organizations and entities at international level (universities, research centers, consulting firms, global energy companies) that also work on the assessment of deep geothermal resources.


Work is currently being carried out in the area of the Empordà basin (Girona), for the geothermal potential assessment of the carbonate aquifer in the basal part of the Eocene, within the framework of the GeoERA HotLime project. The first results are expected to be published in 2021.


Main products of the GeoEnergia-GP project

The GeoEnergia-GP project will develop models and maps in order to contribute to the improvement of knowledge of this energetic resource as a renewable energy source in Catalonia. The ICGC website and a viewer will become the channel for disseminating project results. The products are oriented both to the administration, for the elaboration of territorial plans for the promotion of renewable energies, and to private investors, for projects of new construction of installations with thermal energy demand such as heat district networks, in different industrial uses or other applications.

The main products that will be generated are:

  • 3D geological and thermal models.
  • Maps of geothermal potential of deep geological formations.
  • Informative fact sheets of the synthesis of geothermal potential.



Arnó, G.; Herms, I.; Colomer, M.; Fleta, J.; Camps, V.; Conesa, A. (2022). Deep Geothermal Resources in Catalonia (RGOPCat): synthesis of their potential. ICGC Geoindex – Deep geothermal energy (Version v1.0; ICGC, 2022). Cartographic and Geological Institute of Catalonia.

Moeck, I.S., (2014). Catalog of geothermal play types based on geologic controls. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 37: 867–882. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2014.05.032.

Moeck, I.S., Beardsmore, G. (2014). A new ‘geothermal play type’ catalog: Streamlining exploration decision making. Procs. Thirty-Ninth Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering. Stanford University, Stanford, California, February 24-26, 2014. SGP-TR-202.

Moeck, I.S., Beardsmore, G., Harvey, C.C (2015). Cataloging Worldwide Developed Geothermal Systems by Geothermal Play Type Proceedings World Geothermal Congress 2015. Melbourne, Australia, 19-25 April 2015.

Moeck I.S., Dussel M, Weber J, Schintgen T, and Wolfgramm M. (2019). Geothermal play typing in Germany, case study Molasse Basin: a modern concept to categories geothermal resources related to crustal permeability. Netherlands Journal of Geosciences, Volume 98, e14. https://doi.org/10.1017/njg.2019.12.

Piris, G., Herms, I., Griera, A., Gómez-Rivas, E., Colomer, M. (2020). 3DHIP-Calculator (v1.0) [Software]. Institut Cartogràfic i Geològic de Catalunya, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. CC-BY 4.0.

Puig, C.; Serra, L.; Marzan, I.; Fernández, M.; Berástegui, X. (2013). El Atlas de geotermia de Catalunya: Un instrumento en Evolución. Congreso Aspectos Tecnológicos e Hidrogeológicos de la Geotermia. pp. 227-237. AIH-GE. Barcelona 2013. ISBN 978-84-938046-3-0.

UNECE & IGA (2016). Specifications for the application of the United Nations Framework Classification for Fossil Energy and Mineral Reserves and Resources 2009 (UNFC 2009) to Geothermal Energy Resources. United Nations Framework Classification for Fossil Energy and Mineral Reserves and Resources and International Geothermal Association. 28 p., Geneva.