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The Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for Geothermal Exploitation Monitoring: Khankala Field Example

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 351-362
Sergey V. Cherkasov1 , Anvar M. Farkhutdinov2, Dmitriy P. Rykovanov3, Arbi A. Shaipov4
1 Vernadsky State Geological Museum, 125009, Mokhovaya Street 11/11, Moscow, Russia
2 Department of Geology and Geomorphology, Geograhpical Faculty, Bashkir State University, 450076, Zaki Validi Street 32, Ufa, Russia
3 Geoscan Ltd, 194021, Shatelena Street 26A, St.-Petersburg, Russia
4 Grozny State Oil Technical University named after M. D. Millionshikov, 364051, Isaev Square 100, Grozny, Russia


The article is devoted to the use of unmanned aerial vehicle for geothermal waters exploitation monitoring. Development of a geothermal reservoir usually requires a system of wells, pipelines and pumping equipment and control of such a system is quite complicated. In this regard, use of unmanned aerial vehicle is relevant. Two test unmanned aerial vehicle based infrared surveys have been conducted at the Khankala field (Chechen Republic) with the Khankala geothermal plant operating at different regimes: during the first survey – with, and the second – without reinjection of used geothermal fluid. Unmanned aerial vehicle Geoscan 201 equipped with digital (Sony DSX-RX1) and thermal imaging (Thermoframe-MX-TTX) cameras was used. Besides different images of the geothermal plant obtained by the surveys, 13 thermal anomalies have been identified. Analysis of the shape and temperature facilitated determination of their different sources: fire, heating systems, etc., which was confirmed by a ground reconnaissance. Results of the study demonstrate a high potential of unmanned aerial vehicle based thermal imagery use for environmental and technological monitoring of geothermal fields under operation.

Keywords: Renewable energy, Geothermal waters, Monitoring, Unmanned aerial vehicle, Thermal imaging.

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