Geothermal & Alternative Energy

To support sustainability, geophysicists, chemists, and environmental scientists work together to develop new technologies to harness geothermal energy and other forms of alternative, renewable energy to power our planet in the most environmentally responsible way possible.

On this page, you will find information about geoenergy, sustainable energy practices, what our scientists are working on this area, and the effect their work has.

What Is Geoenergy?

Geoenergy, also known as energy geoscience, is a term used when discussing geothermal energy, which refers to thermal energy created and stored within Earth. Harnessing the power of geothermal energy often involves tapping underground steam or hot water reservoirs and using that heat to power electrical generators.

The processes of turning geothermal energy into usable electrical power involves expertise, research, and technologies created by geologists, chemists, and geophysicists alike.

Geothermal and Alternative Energy Research

This area of science focuses on geothermal exploration and development, petroleum geosciences, and more, and it often operates at the intersection of geology and geophysics. Principles of geology address petroleum systems, model development for hydrocarbon occurrences, and reservoir quality assessment, while the principles of geophysics are often used to apply physical techniques to delineating hydrocarbon traps and informing on rock and fluid properties.

Geoenergy research also addresses the delineation of thermal sources, reservoir characterization, the hydrochemistry of deep hot water, and the environmental footprint of oil and gas production-particularly for unconventional hydrocarbon reservoirs.

Given the virtually limitless amounts of heat generated by Earth's core, geothermal energy is a valuable renewable resource.


Latest News in Geoenergy Research

Read some of the news stories about UAlberta scientists and their research as it relates to geoenergy.

Read alternative energy stories


Unearth Your Potential

Pursue graduate studies in geoenergy by exploring a variety of masters and PhD programs within the Faculty of Science.

Green Chemistry
Integrated Petroleum Geosciences
Jonathan Banks, research associate in the University of Alberta's Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, is lead investigator on the project, which will bring geothermal energy production to legacy energy infrastructure.

Looking for hot water: Geothermal pilot project marks new era for energy in Alberta

New funding from Alberta Innovates supports pilot project with Albertan oil and gas company.

Cluster of teardrop-shaped light bulbs

Future Energy Systems Researchers

Read about six UAlberta professors who are tackling the dilemma of powering our planet with environmentally conscious methods. Their research initiatives focus on areas of geothermal energy, solar power, artificial intelligence, and biofuels. (Photo credit: Festoon Fairy Lights)

Who Is Working with Geoenergy?

The Faculty of Science is training the next generation of scientists in the latest advances in geoenergy and sustainable science practices in the disciplines of earth sciences, geology, chemistry, and geophysics.

Learn more about the faculty overseeing the latest geoenergy projects and their research interests below.