New Zealand partnership increases geothermal presence in Japan

Media Release

21 April 2022

155442 Margaret Low GNS Science

GNS Science and Geo40 have today announced a geothermal coalition which will see them establish a physical presence in Tokyo.

The move to open an office in Japan demonstrates the strength of New Zealand’s expertise in the geothermal space, and builds on GNS Science’s long-standing partnerships in Japan.

GNS Science chief executive Ian Simpson says GNS has operated in Japan for more than 30 years, building many great partnerships and friendships with representatives and universities in the energy and hazard monitoring sectors. 

“Our Japanese partners greatly value New Zealand’s geothermal expertise, and each country has a shared respect for each other’s scientific knowledge and experience. 

More renewable electricity being produced means less fossil fuel consumption, which helps address rising global greenhouse gas emissions.

Ian Simpson Chief Executive GNS Science

The agreement will employ a Japan-based country manager to grow and develop geothermal business opportunities, and to form partnerships with larger geothermal operators, owners, investors, researchers and consultants. 

They will represent the interests of the geothermal coalition, which includes New Zealand geothermal innovation company Geo40, which has developed the world’s first commercial-scale plant to recover high-value silica. Silica is used in everything from papermaking to permeation grouting to low-carbon concrete. 

“In the future Geo40’s technology could also help sustainably source low-carbon lithium for electric transport,” says Ian. 

Geo40 CEO John Worth noted that it was excited by the potential to contribute to Japan’s decarbonisation efforts.  “We see real potential in Japan as it embraces geothermal generation development.” 

GNS Geo 40 announcement reference
Left to Right: Yuki Sadamitsu, Director-General, Natural Resources and Fuel Department, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Minister for Trade Damien O’Connor, Haruo Hayashi, President of the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience (NIED), Haruya Nakata, President of Geothermal Energy Research & Development Co., Ltd. (GERD), Tetsuhiro Hosono, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC), Shin Maeda, President, Tokyo Tower, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and GNS Science chief executive Ian Simpson

The initiative will operate under co-investment model. Half of the cost is being met by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s International Growth Fund with the remainder coming from the GNS Science and Geo40 geothermal coalition. 

“The coalition has expertise that can make Japanese geothermal power stations produce significantly more electricity more efficiently, reduce or eliminate the small amount of emissions from geothermal generation, and extract value out of by-products. 

“Not only does the coalition’s research and expertise provide value for global geothermal customers, it helps ensure energy resilience, affordability and sustainability.” says Ian.

Burnell John 3261

John Burnell Geothermal Modeller

John is a numerical modeller who has over 30 years experience working on a wide range of energy related projects. His main focus is geothermal reservoir modelling, undertaking both research and consulting. He has developed models of geothermal systems throughout the world, for both consenting purposes and resource planning. He has worked on models of: Ngawha, Wairakei, Rotokawa, Rotorua, Tauhara, Kawerau, Mokai, (New Zealand), Mt Apo, Bacman (Philippines), Kakkonda, Uenotai, Sumikawa (Japan), and Luiese (Papua New Guinea). He has long-standing involvement in the resource consent process in New Zealand, both developing models to assess environmental impacts and appearing as an expert witness at consent hearings. He is able to develop new software for solving modelling problems, and is the developer of a commercially available Tough2 pre-processor. John is currently the NZ convener of the IPGT Reservoir Modelling Group, and has served on the NZ Geothermal Association Board. In addition to geothermal modelling, John has worked on models of gas reservoirs, heat exchangers, heat transfer in reformer furnaces, casting furnaces, heater design, heat transfer in coolstores, biofilm growth and electroosmotic flow

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