Zayo’s Fiber Helps Map Geothermal Reserves

December 7th, 2023 by · Leave a Comment

While the main purpose of fiberoptic cables is to carry information via packets of light from one place to another, there are other very useful applications. Out in California, researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Rice University have been using Zayo’s fiber to uncover new sustainable energy sources.

More specifically, they’ve been using Zayo’s fiber footprint in what is known as the Imperial Valley out in California. The Imperial Valley sits between the Salton Sea and the Mexican border, a couple hours east of San Diego, and is known to have geothermal energy resources that might be tapped. Geothermal energy is a sustainable resource that, unlike wind and solar, can produce steady power unaffected by the daily weather.

Dark fiber can be used to sense seismic activity via a technique called Distributed Acoustic Sensing, enabling researchers to look underground. The fiber gives them sensor coverage along the path, with resolution of just a few meters. Other methods would require much more time and effort to deploy dedicated sensors, making it prohibitively resource intensive.

Researchers are then able to detect subsurface features that are associated with geothermal reserves, basically spots where heat from deeper in the earth wells up closer to the surface. The closer that heat is, the easier it is to tap into and generate electricity from it. This project was about proving they could find such resources, and over the course of the project the concept seems to have proven quite valuable.

Perhaps we will see the efforts reproduced elsewhere before long.  Zayo surely isn’t the only one with dark fiber out there near potential geothermal reserves.

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Categories: Energy · Fiber Networks · Fiber optic cable

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