Björn Paulsson from Paulsson Inc. was one of our amazing speakers at Green Connections this year, where he spoke about the effective development of geothermal resources using fiber optic multi-sensor arrays.
Based in Van Nuys, California, Paulsson Inc specializes in developing optical sensors and instruments for boreholes. If you live in California or enrolled in the physical geography course in college for general ed ( like I did) you are most likely familiar with the San Andreas Fault (SAF). As a matter of fact, Paulsson Inc. made a vital contribution to the research of the SAF by developing seismic instruments which changed the whole picture of how the fault is structured...
Swedish born Björn Paulsson, CEO & President at Paulsson Inc, has a tremendous career behind him, and he is not stopping anytime soon. Studying geology, geophysics, and geothermal energy at the Chalmer´s University of Technology in Sweden in the '70s, and later on, advancing his degree to a Ph.D. in seismology and rock-mechanics at UC Berkeley, he has been in the game for the past four decades across the world. Following his Ph.D. ,Björn worked at Chevron´s research laboratory in La Habra, California for 13 years where he published over 50 papers and seven patents based on his research where his contributions earned him Chevron´s highest award; "The Chairman´s Award".
If you have spent some time in California, chances are you have experienced a few smaller earthquakes, and we all know "the big one" will hit one day. We can just hope it won´t turn out as dramatic as was portrayed in the 2015 action/thriller "San Andreas" where the SAF triggered a magnitude 9 earthquake and California ended up in complete misery and chaos. Referring to an action movie with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson may seem irrelevant but this issue is exactly what Paulsson and his team have been researching.
With their developed seismic instruments, they discovered that the fault is made up of three fracture planes and not one fracture plane, which previously was reported. This was discovered in 2005 and changed the whole idea of how the fault is built up, which is crucial when researching earthquakes for mitigating the risk of devastating destruction. Paulsson´s latest contribution is instrumenting the Hayward Fault in the Bay Area which was completed in December 2020. The Hayward Fault has the potential to generate a magnitude 7 (M7) and is regarded as one of the largest geo-hazards in the United States.
When discussing the potential of thermal energy production, Paulsson points out that;
"...the U.S. is the largest geothermal energy producer in the world, there is enough potential geothermal energy to meet all electrical production in the U.S. In fact, the geothermal energy potential in the U.S. is two times the current overall production of electrical energy today, making it an immense environmentally friendly resource."
The geothermal energy is currently producing 0.4% of the overall electrical production in the western U.S, however, it has a potential of 625 times larger than what is being produced today.
This makes it possible to meet the entire electrical needs in the U.S. now and into the far future since geothermal energy is sustainable and renewable.
Paulsson Inc has since 2010 received about $30 million from the U.S. DOE to develop novel sensors, data acquisition, and imaging technologies in California. Additionally, Björn tells how Sweden might become a big producer of geothermal energy and how it can create a significant energy source. Researchers are currently looking into the area of Skåne, the most southern part of Sweden for geothermal production. Björn explains how Sweden is a great target market from a company point of view, being a high-tech country with great geophysical processing technologies.
When being asked why Paulsson Inc. decided to join the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce, Paulsson said that;"...we need to recognize the value of networking, especially when we work with businesses with potential for international expansion".
The technology that Paulsson developed at Berkeley has been used in Sweden and many other countries in Europe for the sequestration of Co2. He predicts opportunities for the use of optical technologies from Sweden, the UK, Denmark, and Germany.
Paulsson Inc recently joined the Chamber as a corporate member, and we are very excited to start working with Björn and his team.
Click here to learn more about our memberships at SACC-SD.
Do you want to learn even more about geothermal resources? Click here to access the presentation slides from Paulsson´s Green Connections 2020 presentation.