Geothermal Resources Council Best Presentation Award - Rachel Silverman

Mechanical Engineering student Rachel Silverman won best in presentation for the Finance/Economics session at the 38th Annual Geothermal Resources Council Meeting in Portland, Oregon. More than 145 presentations were given during the conference, each judged on quality of content and the presenter's communication skills.

Silverman's presentation, "Uncertainty Analysis of Geothermal Well Drilling and Completion Costs," began as a research project for her master's of engineering degree in mechanical engineering.

"We are proud of Rachel's well deserved GRC recognition," said Jeff Tester, research professor and Silverman's advisor. "She is dedicated to her research, and skilled at communicating her findings; this is a great example of how Cornell students learn to work across the engineering-geosciences fields, and to communicate effectively."

Silverman's research, based in the College of Engineering, deals with one of the primary obstacles in developing Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) technology - the cost of drilling, and specifically the increased risks associated with drilling deeper wells. Her paper aims to expand upon the deterministic cost versus depth curves produced in previous works by identifying the main variables influencing the cost of a geothermal well, analyzing the probability distribution of each of these variables, and using Monte Carlo simulation to produce a set of probabilistic well cost distribution curves as a function of depth.

"This project provided me with an excellent opportunity to learn in-depth about the geothermal drilling industry," Silverman said. "It has been exciting to combine an academic approach to well costing with real data and experience from drillers in industry."

The Geothermal Resources Council is an international educational association dedicated to developing members and educating the community on geothermal resources.