50th Anniversary Contest Honorable Mention -- Jerjes Porlles

Read one of the Honorable Mentions in our 50th Anniversary Storytelling Contest below.
Scientists projects that the U.S. geothermal energy will contribute to 10% of the country’s energy by 2050.

Since I was a child, I have seen energy transition at home. I lived in Pasco, a small village in the Peruvian Andes, 300 Km far from the Peruvian capital, Lima. My first source of energy was wood for cooking. My grandmom used to cook in a clay kitchen. Our next source of energy was kerosene. Although, it was difficult to get due to the economic crisis in the 80s. Cook using kerosene was more convenient because this type of kitchen reduced the smoke in the kitchen. However, we have to heat water to take a shower with buckets. After ten years, when I arrived in the capital, Lima, I saw propane as a source to cook and, most importantly, to take a shower with continuous hot water. Finally, natural gas was used as electricity for cooking and taking showers. Nowadays, we are facing another transition; as you can see, change is a continuous process in our lives. Renewable energy is the next step. Hence, this continued energy transition uses solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and so on. Also, as a petroleum engineers, I can say that we have to be involved in this journey by using our skills to help to build the geothermal industry. For that reason, my motivation to be part of the geothermal industry is to utilize my skills acquired in the oil & gas industry to apply geothermal energy to my compatriots.

Metalliferous Hills in Tuscany
Metalliferous Hills is recognized as one of the most important wilderness areas of Tuscany. It consists
of two forest areas separated by the streams Sterza and Ritasso: the larger Monterufoli in contact with
a big geothermal zone.

Being Peru, an emerging country, my people in the Andes have health problems each Winter. Hence, each year we read in the news that the population in the Andes faces low temperatures. Indeed, children are most affected. I remember in the small village, and we used almost six blankets to be warm at night. The worst is that after 30 years, nothing has changed. However, it is paradoxical that these Andes areas are located close to geothermal anomalies studied for many years with high potential. My people have an enormous energy source under their feet. In fact, for many years, our ancestors figure out boiling rivers and hot springs. Hence, geothermal energy can offer an excellent service to change the lifestyle of the Peruvian communities, especially for kids who die each year of low temperatures. 

Jemez Mountains in north-central New Mexico
The Jemez Mountains in north-central New Mexico are volcanic in origin and have a large central
caldera known as Valles Caldera. The mountains contain the Valles geothermal system, which was
investigated as a source of geothermal energy.

To develop these projects in my country, I have proposed to learn good practices, and lessons learned and meet the geothermal anomalies in other places to try replicating them in Peru. For that reason, it is vital for my career to go to geothermal fields. One of the journeys was to go to Larderello in Italy. Larderello is the first commercial geothermal project. It combines geothermal industry and agriculture in a balanced environmental area. I was part of 5 students who won financial support from the European Union to participate in these field trips.

Soda dam travertine bridging the Rio Jemez, NM, USA
Soda dam travertine bridging the Rio Jemez, NM, USA, orange discoloration on the right side of the
dam marks the location of Grotto Spring inside the dam.

The other important play is Valle Calderas in Nuevo Mexico, USA. In the 70s, Union Oil Company developed the first enhanced geothermal system project using stimulation. It was shocking for me to hear that they promised 400MWe and could only prove 20MWe. What happened? Many questions to solve. Therefore, my current research develops a workflow to generate sensitivity analysis and optimize an Enhanced Geothermal System. Consequently, it is important to analyze each parameter that couldn't work well in the past and how the technology can help us use proppants and other materials to economically and sustainably develop EGS projects.

Thank you to the sponsors of our 50th Anniversary Contest!

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