Geothermal energy resources and development in Iran

Younes Noorollahi, Hossein Yousefi, Ryuichi Itoi, Sachio Ehara

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Interest in geothermal energy originated in Iran when James R. McNitt, a United Nations geothermal expert, visited the country in December 1974. In 1975, a contract among the Ministry of Energy, ENEL (Entes Nazionale per L'Energia Elettrica) of Italy and TB (Tehran Berkeley) of Iran was signed for geothermal exploration in the north-western part of Iran. In 1983, the result of investigations defined Sabalan, Damavand, Khoy-Maku and Sahand regions as four prospected geothermal sites in north-western Iran. From 1996 to 1999, a countrywide geothermal energy resource exploration project was carried out by Renewable Energy Organization of Iran (SUNA) and 10 more potential areas were indicated additionally. Geothermal potential site selection using Geographic Information System (GIS) was carried out in Kyushu University in 2007. The results indicated 8.8% of Iran as prospected geothermal areas in 18 fields. Sabalan as a first priority of geothermal potential regions was selected for detailed explorations. Since 1995, surface exploration and feasibility studies have been carried out and five promising areas were defined. Among those prospective areas, Northwest Sabalan geothermal filed was defined for detailed exploration to justify exploration drilling and to estimate the reservoir characteristics and capacity. From 2002 to 2004, three deep exploration wells were drilled for evaluation of subsurface geological conditions, geothermal reservoir assessment and response simulation. Two of the wells were successful and a maximum temperature of 240 °C at a depth of 3197 m was recorded. As a result of the reservoir simulation, a 55-MW power plant is projected to be installed in the Sabalan field as a first in geothermal power generation. To supply the required steam for the geothermal power plant (GPP) 17 deep production and reinjection wells are planned to be drilled this year.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1127-1132
Number of pages6
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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